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October 16, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – WHO finds inconclusive results for repurposed Covid-19 drugs – ImmunityBio to advance its Covid-19 vaccine into Phase I

By Allie Nawrat

16 October 2020 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised ImmunityBio to begin a Phase I clinical trial of its hAd5-Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine targets both the inner nucleocapsid (N) and outer spike (S) protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It can produce antibodies against the virus and offer potential long-term T cell and antibody immunity.

Sanofi’s vaccine arm Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio announced that their MRT5500 vaccine candidate generated positive immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in preclinical studies. The data supports further clinical development of vaccine; a Phase I/II clinical trial is expected to begin in the final quarter of 2020.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) six-month SOLIDARITY trial of Covid-19 therapeutics has provided convincing evidence on the effectiveness of repurposed drugs to treat Covid-19. Results from the trial revealed that remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, and interferon had limited effect on the short-term mortality or in-hospital course of Covid-19 patients. The study was conducted across more than 30 countries to evaluate the effects of the drugs on mortality, duration of hospital stay and ventilation requirements.

Eiger BioPharmaceuticals announced positive results of its Interferon Lambda for Immediate Antiviral Therapy at Diagnosis in COVID-19 (ILIAD) study. The randomised controlled trial was conducted among outpatients suffering from mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms. Outcomes of the trial revealed that lambda significantly reduced viral load in the drug group, compared to the placebo group.

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