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June 1, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – New drug highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19 in mice – Samsung Biologics to add mRNA production line to its facility

By Darcy Jimenez

University of Pennsylvania scientists have found a new drug, diABZI, to be highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19 in mice infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study, published in the journal Science Immunology, found that diABZI activated an immune response – the body’s defence mechanism against infection – in the mice. It is hoped that the drug can also help to treat other respiratory coronaviruses.

An affordable, anti-inflammatory drug has been found to reduce hospitalisation risk and death among some Covid-19 patients in a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, home-based study conducted in Canada, Europe, South Africa, South America, and the US. Colchicine, traditionally used for treating gout, pericarditis, and familial Mediterranean fever, is being considered for the treatment of Covid-19 complications. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said that while it does not currently recommend colchicine for use in hospitals, “further research should be carried out in community settings to see whether it might yet be an effective treatment”.

South Korean biotech Samsung Biologics is looking to add an mRNA vaccine production line to its Songdo facility by the first half of 2022. The company said the expansion is part of a long-term strategy to move beyond its current focus on monoclonal antibodies and become a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical company. Samsung Biologics also entered into a fill-finish manufacturing agreement with Moderna last week, one of the four such contracts announced in the country.

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