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August 12, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – WHO expands trial of three repurposed drugs against Covid-19 – EMA investigates potential new side effects of mRNA Covid-19 jabs

By Chris Lo

The World Health Organization has initiated a new phase of its Solidarity clinical trial to assess three new drugs – artesunate, imatinib and infliximab – in hospitalised patients with Covid-19. These drugs, currently used to treat other diseases, are expected to lower mortality risk in Covid-19 patients. The new trial, Solidarity PLUS, will be conducted at more than 600 hospitals across 52 countries.

The European Medicines Agency has launched an investigation regarding a possible link between two mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and new suspected side-effects reported in a few recipients. The agency is assessing whether Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax vaccines can cause an allergic skin reaction called erythema multiforme or two kidney disorders – glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome.

I-Mab has reported positive interim results from the Phase II/III clinical trial of its antibody candidate, plonmarlimab, to treat cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in severe Covid-19 patients. The drug was observed to increase mechanical ventilation free rate, decrease mortality rate and shorten time to recovery and hospitalisation period. It also mitigated pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are considered vital in CRS. Plonmarlimab was well tolerated during the trial, without any notable safety issues.

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