24 April 2020 

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has signed a manufacturing services agreement worth around $135m with Emergent BioSolutions for its lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which builds on Janssen Pharmaceutical’s AdVac and PER.C6 technologies. Emergent will provide drug substance manufacturing services this year and will reserve some large-scale manufacturing capacity for commercial production of Janssen’s adenovirus-based Covid-19 vaccine next year.

Gilead’s remdesivir has failed to show benefit in a clinical trial conducted to treat Covid-19 patients in China, according to data that the World Health Organization (WHO) accidentally posted on its website. In response to the leaked results, which have now been taken down by the WHO, Gilead said that the trial was stopped early and hence the findings are inconclusive.

The first two participants have been injected in the first human clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by the UK’s University of Oxford, according to the BBC. More than 800 volunteers have been enrolled, of which 50% will receive the vaccine candidate and the remaining will be given a control vaccine that protects from meningitis.

Not-for-profit organisation The Human Vaccines Project (HVP) has launched the COVID Vaccine Initiative (CVI) focused on the development of vaccine for ageing populations and people in low and middle-income countries. The CVI’s research and development programme will primarily conduct natural history and vaccine studies in ageing populations in order to determine effective immunity generation approaches in these populations.

Researchers from the University of Dundee in Scotland are leading a clinical trial that will assess Insmed’s brensocatib (formerly INS1007) for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Brensocatib is being developed to address lung inflammation and the new trial will study the drug’s ability to decrease the incidence of acute lung injury and prevent mechanical ventilation in Covid-19 patients.

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