The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Serbia’s Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera (Torlak Institute), have announced an agreement to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in Serbia. This will make the country the first in Southern Europe to produce the Sputnik V vaccine, which could later be exported to other countries across the region. Production is expected to start in March 2021 at the Torlak Institute’s facilities.

Biopharmaceutical firm Sorrento Therapeutics has reported positive results from its Phase Ib study of human allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (COVI-MSC) for patients suffering from Covid-induced acute respiratory distress (ARD) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The single-arm, non-randomised trial evaluated the safety and preliminary efficacy of adipose MSC cells in patients being treated in intensive care. All nine patients with Covid-induced ARDS were discharged from hospital within days after three COVI-MSC infusions. The company is now planning a placebo-controlled Phase II trial to be conducted at sites across the US, Mexico and Brazil.

ImmunoPrecise Antibodies has identified a novel antibody, 23-H7, which from its preclinical data indicates strong, protective, antiviral effects against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Syrian hamsters through an uncommon mechanism. The 23-H7 is anticipated to be less vulnerable to escape mutations within the spike protein/ACE2 binding interface, such as escape mutation of concern E484K.