11 May 2020 

A clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US has launched to assess Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir plus Eli Lilly’s anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib for the treatment of Covid-19. The main objective of the trial is to compare time to recovery between remdesivir alone and remdesivir plus baricitinib arms.

Early data from a small clinical trial conducted by the University of Hong Kong has demonstrated promise for the treatment of Covid-19 with a combination of HIV medicine lopinavir–ritonavir, hepatitis drug ribavirin, and multiple sclerosis therapy interferon beta. Patients treated with the triple drug combination tested negative for the virus five days earlier than those on the HIV drug alone.

The Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with domestic vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech International in a national effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. ICMR said in a statement that the virus strain isolated at the Indian National Institute of Virology will be used to develop the vaccine.

Sorrento Therapeutics and Mount Sinai Health System have collaborated to develop an antibody cocktail, named COVI-SHIELD, for the potential treatment of Covid-19. The aim is to create antibodies that would be a ‘protective shield’ against Covid-19 by inhibiting and neutralising the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ activity. Each COVI-SHIELD dose is expected to comprise a cocktail of three antibodies. Read the full story here.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalised the allocation plan for remdesivir donated by Gilead Sciences and started shipping the drug to hospitalised Covid-19 patients. HHS said that the donated doses will be used to treat patients in the US areas hardest hit by the pandemic. The company agreed to supply around 607,000 vials of the drug over the next six weeks to treat nearly 78,000 hospitalised Covid-19 patients.