COVID-19: Roundup 15 May

15 May 2020

15 May

Here is our weekly roundup on the latest research and scientific efforts against the coronavirus.

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University of Oxford

A team of researchers at the University of Oxford will be leading a project, known as the PRINCIPLE trial, which aims to assess several low-risk treatments for older patients with severe covid-19.

The PRINCIPLE trial platform will evaluate potential treatments to identify whether there is an existing drug to help patients recover sooner and without hospital admission.

In the first phase of the trial, a seven-day course of hydroxychloroquine will be assessed to see if it can reduce the severity of symptoms in vulnerable patients.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, stressed; ‘This trial is very important. It is focussed on older people and those with co-morbidities, who are much more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19.’

Read more here.

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly has partnered with Junshi Biosciences to accelerate the clinical development of Junshi SARS-CoV-2 antibodies for the potential treatment of covid-19.

Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, is optimistic that the neutralizing-antibody approach will be useful, stating; ‘The data generated by Junshi Biosciences suggest the lead antibody may have appropriate properties to support testing its therapeutic use in patients as well as exploring its potential for preventing infection in at-risk individuals.’

Read more here

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Sorrento Therapeutics

Using a diagnostic test developed at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, US, a team at Sorrento Therapeutics have screened approximately fifteen thousand individuals who may have contracted and recovered from covid-19, in search for the presence of anti-covid-19 antibodies.

The aim of this partnership is to generate an antibody cocktail to block and neutralize the activity of the virus in covid-19 patients.

Dr Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics, said that it is their intention to ‘Develop a triple antibody prophylactic and therapeutic agent that would shield healthcare workers and at-risk patients. This therapy is designed to be resistant to future virus mutations.’

Read more here



The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has granted regulatory approval of Veklury (remdesivir) as a covid-19 treatment. The approval of this drug is based on clinical data from three different sources: the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ global Phase 3 trial, Gilead’s Phase 3 SIMPLE trial and available data from Gilead’s compassionate use program.

Whilst this drug has been approved in Japan for patients with severe covid-19, it still awaits approval by the FDA for use in the US. However, due to the current circumstances, it has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe covid-19.

Read more here.


Thermo Fisher

Thermo Fisher Scientific has partnered with WuXi Diagnostics and Mayo Clinic to develop a total antibodies test, referred to as the ‘Thermo Scientific OmniPath COVID-19 Total Antibody ELISA test.’ This test will detect Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to help clinicians evaluate whether a patient has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The collaboration will bring together clinical expertise and increase manufacturing capabilities to advance serological testing for covid-19.

Serological tests assess whether a patient has antibodies to covid-19, which determines if they have had, or still have the virus. These tests will improve clinical efficiency and support contact tracing to prevent further spread of covid-19.

Read more here.

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Novavax and CEPI 

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has partnered with Novavax by investing up to $348 million to advance the clinical development of NVX-CoV2373 through Phase 2. The investment will also support the scale-up production of NVC-CoV2373 to allow manufacturing of up to 100 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020.

Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of CEPI, said, ‘[CEPI’s] vaccine R&D programmes are starting to show progress, so it is vital that we invest now to boost manufacturing capacity, so that our partners have the ability to produce vaccines at a global scale.

Read more here.

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Keep up to date on the response from the chemical industry and the scientific community to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. SCI will be covering key coronavirus research and reporting news from trusted sources so that you have the coronavirus latest.

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