Biopharma Update on the Novel Coronavirus: August 28
News information is not all-inclusive and updates will now be published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Antigen EUA: The FDA issued a EUA to Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough, Inc. for the first antigen test (BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card) where results can be read directly from a card and is a similar design to pregnancy tests.
Diagnostics Update: To-date the FDA has authorized 226 individual EUAs, which include 182 molecular tests, 40 antibody tests and 4 antigen tests.
One day after Abbott secured Emergency Use Authorization for its $5 coronavirus test, the White House awarded the company a $750 million contract to deliver 150 million Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care (POC) SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests to expand testing across the country. Please read more here.
Testing Therapies, Antivirals and Vaccines
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has one major advantage over us – it is a new human virus. Most people have not encountered the virus before, meaning their immune system is not primed and ready to fight it. When someone gets sick with COVID-19, there is a lag in an efficient immune response, giving the virus time to do significant damage before the immune system can reign in the infection. “It essentially becomes a race between how fast your immune system can clear the virus and how quickly the virus can replicate and induce damage,” Agustin Melian, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Medical Sciences at AlloVir, told BioSpace. Read more here.
Blue Knight is a program created in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The idea is to support companies that anticipate “potential health security threats, activating the global innovation community, and amplifying scientific and technological advances with the aim to prepare for and respond to our rapidly evolving global health environment.” In short, given the world’s current COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Knight is focused on dealing with the next pandemic. As such, they have chosen seven startups from J&J’s global JLABS incubator network to participate. Each will receive up to $500,000 in support, as well as consultation and mentorship from BARDA and J&J. Please read more here.
The Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory at Virginia Tech created a reusable respiratory via rapid tooling and 3D printing. In efficacy tests run by NanoSafe, the design performed as well or better than an N95.
Other Industry News
President Donald Trump pledged a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 would be available by the end of the year. The remarks were made during an acceptance speech for the Republican Party presidential nomination Thursday night. Please read more here.
Researchers in Germany trained dogs to detect COVID-19 viruses in saliva samples. The researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover worked with Bundeswehr, the German Armed Force, and scientists from the Hannover Medical School and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Although unlikely to replace a clinical laboratory, the dogs might have a role in airports, train stations, and sporting events.
Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones including a COVID-19 vaccine tested on mice that can be taken nasally.