5 May 2020 

At a Coronavirus Global Response pledging event led by the European Commission (EC), world leaders committed €7.4bn ($8bn) to support the development and universal access to Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. Notably absent from the EC’s event was the US. The event also encouraged further collaboration in the fight against Covid-19 to be led by organisations such as the WHO, CEPI, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation.

Researchers at Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands, in alliance with China-based firm Harbour BioMed, have identified a fully human monoclonal antibody with activity against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. According to the team, the antibody could prevent SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cultured cells.

Eli Lilly has partnered with Junshi Biosciences to co-develop therapeutic antibodies to potentially treat and prevent Covid-19 infection. Junshi Biosciences has already engineered several neutralising antibodies and the lead candidate is set to begin clinical testing in the second quarter of this year.

Researchers at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) have isolated a coronavirus antibody, reported Reuters citing Defence Minister Naftali Bennett. The monoclonal antibody is said to be capable of neutralising the coronavirus inside carriers’ bodies.

Arcturus Therapeutics has partnered with Catalent to manufacture its Covid-19 mRNA vaccine candidate, LUNAR-COV19. Catalent will produce the vaccine at its drug substance bio-manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, to support human clinical studies and potential commercialisation. Manufacture of the first batches are scheduled to be completed by June 2020. Catalent previously signed a similar manufacturing agreement with J&J for its Covid-19 vaccines.