15 May 2020

The University of Oxford in the UK has reported positive findings of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in a small preclinical study involving six monkeys, said Reuters. Data showed that some of the monkeys administered with a single shot of the vaccine generated antibodies against the virus within 14 days while all monkeys developed antibodies within 28 days, prior to being exposed to high virus doses.

The US’ National Institutes of Health has started a Phase IIb clinical trial to assess malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with antibiotic azithromycin to prevent hospitalisation and death from Covid-19. Teva Pharmaceuticals is supplying drugs for the study, which will involve around 2,000 adults in the US.

Two health advocacy groups have asked the Indian government to rescind patents given to Gilead Sciences for remdesivir in Covid-19 indication to ensure more fair distribution globally, mainly in poorer nations. According to the health groups, Gilead’s non-exclusive licensing deals with five manufacturers in India and Pakistan may block the availability of cheaper forms of the drug in certain nations.

Sanofi chairman has said that the company will provide its Covid-19 vaccine, if approved, simultaneously to all markets globally, without advance to any country. This statement comes a day after Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said that the US will likely have first access to the vaccine if it succeeds.

Mayo Clinic and partners in the US have reported that experimental convalescent plasma is safe for the treatment of severely ill Covid-19 patients, based on data from the initial 5,000 hospitalised patients under the country’s Expanded Access Program (EAP) for Covid-19. The data involves assessment during the first seven days after transfusion of convalescent plasma.

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