IFPMA Covid-19 Günlük Bülteni – 30 Nisan
- Global biopharmaceutical industry highlighted its commitment to work with urgency to research and test potential COVID-19 treatments, without compromising safety and quality.
- Dr Tedros reconvened the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee today with details being shared during tomorrow’ daily press briefing.
- The WHO expressed concern by the community spread of the new coronavirus in a significant number of West African countries.
- European Commission and Committee of the Regions announce 4 May COVID-19 pledge
- Pfizer announces at IFPMA COVID-19 media briefing that it aims for 10-20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by end-2020. Other news of scaling up vaccine manufacturing: AstraZeneca (with University of Oxford) and Johnson & Johnson (with Catalent) respectively signed new deals to scale up the production and distribution of vaccine candidates globally.
- The CEO of Gilead Sciences, Daniel O’Day, vows to create enough supply of Remdesivir for people all over the world.
- GSK announced that the vast majority of its clinical trials face delays as it prioritises the fight against COVID-19.
- European Commission The Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon starts on Monday 4 May and European Committee of the Regions, announces: Coronavirus global response: The EU joins forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort.
- IFPMA: Global Pharma update on unprecedented efforts to collaborate in speeding up the search for safe and effective COVID-19 therapies. In a second media briefing with CEOs/ high-level representatives from AstraZeneca, Merck, CSL Behring, Pfizer, Takeda, MSD, Sandoz, the R&D biopharmaceutical companies highlighted that it is working with urgency to research and test potential COVID-19 treatments, without compromising safety and quality. The industry is living up to its public commitments, collaborating widely to ensure that its breadth of expertise in therapeutics (research, clinical development, manufacturing) is shared across the scientific community as part of the global fight against COVID-19.
Listen to the full media briefing here.
MANUFACTURING & SUPPLY
- Catalent: Catalent Signs Agreement with Johnson & Johnson to be U.S. Manufacturing Partner for Lead COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate. J&J and Catalent commit to accelerate rapid scale-up of segregated manufacturing capacity over the coming months to support dedicated production of J&J’s investigational vaccine candidate.
- AstraZeneca: AstraZeneca teams up with Oxford University on vaccine. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford today announced an agreement for the global development, production and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.
- Reuters: Pfizer Aims for 10-20 Million Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine by End-2020 for Emergency Use. “Of course we need to see and wait to see how the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is demonstrated, hopefully in the coming months,” Nanette Cocero, global head of Pfizer Vaccines, said on a conference call organized by drug industry group IFPMA.
- Business Day: GSK CEO predicts no coronavirus vaccine mass-produced before mid-2021. “If things go right … to get to scale of manufacturing in the hundreds of millions (of doses) is going to be in the second half of next year,” said CEO Emma Walmsley.
- New York Post: Gilead vows to increase remdesivir supply in effort to fight coronavirus. The CEO of Gilead Sciences, Daniel O’Day, has said he is “humbled” that its drug remdesivir is the first shown to work against the coronavirus — and vowed to “create enough supply for people all over the world.”
ACCESS & IP
- Geneva Health Files: Changes to the EU Proposal on COVID19 Response #WHA73. This blog analyses the EU draft proposal on COVID-19 Response for WHA73 and highlights the key changes the draft has gone through over the last few days in terms of the language on fundamental freedoms, IP, privacy matters, and stronger language for dealing with misinformation, among others. The author feels that the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed strategies on improving access to medicines, some of which were unthinkable a few weeks ago.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC IMPACT
- The Guardian: Another 3.8 million Americans lose jobs as US unemployment continues to grow. Another 3.8 million people lost their jobs in the US last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to batter the economy. The pace of layoffs appears to be slowing, but in just six weeks an unprecedented 30 million Americans have now sought unemployment benefits and the numbers are still growing.
- EURACTIV: All eyes on ECB for bigger virus-fighting moves.The European Central Bank could reiterate its power to do more still to cushion the eurozone economy from the impact of the novel coronavirus, analysts said, while maintaining pressure on governments to agree a joint response.
- Business Insider: The coronavirus’ horrendous impact on Europe’s economy is growing clearer as GDP shrinks 3.8%, and Germany, France, and Spain report catastrophic data.
- CNBC Markets: Sweden had no lockdown but its economy is expected to suffer just as badly as its European neighbours.Data released from Sweden’s central bank and a leading Swedish think tank show that the economy will be just as badly hit as its European neighbours. Lockdowns in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the U.K., aimed at saving countless lives, have all hit their economies severely.
- The Guardian: Italy enters recession. Italy has joined France in recession, after suffering its worst slump in decades which has wiped out all of the growth since the eurozone crisis, and then some. Italian GDP shrank by 4.7% in the first quarter of 2020.
VACCINE/ TREATMENT DEVELOPMENT & DONATIONS
- CNBC: UK researchers should know by July if coronavirus vaccine is effective. The U.K. will know by July whether its Covid-19 vaccine is effective, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Thursday. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said “By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy,”.
- Politico: ‘A drug can block this virus’: Fauci hails COVID-19 treatment breakthrough. Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir may be the first effective coronavirus treatment, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Director Anthony Fauci said.
- BioSpace: Merck and Institute for Systems Biology Initiate Large-Scale COVID-19 Study. Merck is entering a collaboration agreement with the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) to investigate and define the molecular activity of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19, the resulting disease. The intention is to identify targets for drugs and vaccines
- The New York Times: At Least 89 Vaccines Are Being Developed. It May Not Matter. In an opinion piece by Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, he writes that if what took place during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic happens again, an effective and safe coronavirus vaccine will not be enough to stop the pandemic. Dr Berkley went on to say that although the first priority for any country, of course, is to protect its own citizens, countries must think globally when the world faces an infectious disease.
- Business Today: Biocon developing vaccine, antibody cure and repurposed drugs against COVID-19. Bangalore-based Biocon is developing a novel customised non-replicating measles virus-based vaccine, a latest antigen therapy that can be commercialised quickly. Biocon is also developing two new generation repurposed drugs for treatment and an antibody diagnostic kit.
- Bloomberg Quint: Strides Pharma Says It Launched Antiviral Drug That Shows Positive Effects In COVID-19 Treatment. Strides Pharma Science Ltd. said it has developed and commercialised Favipiravir antiviral tablets and stressed that the drug has demonstrated positive outcomes in COVID-19 treatment globally. Favipiravir is an antiviral medication that was initially developed to treat influenza in Japan.
New R&D partnership
- NIHR: National, collaborative platform launched to fast-track potential COVID-19 treatments. COVID-19 treatments could be fast-tracked through a new national clinical trial initiative involving the NIHR and its partners in industry and the UK government. This collaborative platform, known as ACCORD (Accelerating, COVID-19 Research & Development), aims to get an early indication of potential drug treatments’ effectiveness in treating coronavirus. If positive results are seen, these drugs will advance rapidly into the large-scale trials in progress across the country.
- Science Magazine: NIH launches competition to speed COVID-19 diagnostics. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a $1.5 billion initiative to speed breakthroughs in diagnostic tests. The program aims to increase the U.S. capacity for SARS-CoV-2 testing up to 100-fold by late summer, in time for the start of the flu season.
IMPACT ON CLINICAL TRAILS
- The Telegraph: GSK delays non-Covid 19 clinical trials.GSK has admitted the vast majority of its clinical trials face delays as it prioritises the fight against COVID-19. Emma Walmsley, GSK chief executive, said around 87% of its clinical trials were expected to be delayed by between one and three months.“
IMPACT ON GLOBAL HEALTH
- CNBC: Coronavirus could be causing new inflammatory condition in children, UK health officials warn. Britain’s Paediatric Intensive Care Society said it has been alerted to a small number of critically ill children presenting with “an unusual clinical picture.” Many of the children with the new inflammatory disease, likened to Kawasaki disease and sepsis, had been diagnosed with Covid-19.
- The Lancet: An Italian programme for COVID-19 infection in multiple sclerosis. For people with multiple sclerosis, the pandemic carries additional reasons for concern. Although emerging work suggests that some coexisting diseases, such as hypertension, might increase the severity of the COVID-19 infection, how less common conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, effect COVID-19 outcomes is still uncertain.
COVID-19 & AFRICA
- Reuters: WHO says very concerned at community spread of coronavirus in West Africa. WHO Africa Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said “We are very concerned about West Africa where we are seeing some community spread, in a significant number of countries compared with others”.
- Egypt Today: Egypt’s Sisi urges continuous African coordination to face coronavirus. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi highlighted the need for the continuous communication between African countries to coordinate joint efforts to face COVID-19 as he addressed a number of African heads of state.
WHO – COVID-19 update, 30 April
No media briefing today by Dr Tedros.
Reconvening of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee
- WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reconvened the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 today. This is the third meeting of the Committee.
- The Committee will deliberate today and provide its views to the Director-General on Friday. The Committee’s statement will be issued Friday 1 May during the regularly scheduled virtual press conference, planned for 17:00 CEST. Dial-in details will be sent tomorrow, 1 May, ahead of the VPC.
WHO AFRO: Press conference – 30 April
- Regional Director Dr. Moeti, said “We are very concerned with the vulnerability of people living in conflict conditions, refugee camps & migrants which is the case with many people in the Sahel countries, WHO is working closely with partners to serve these people”.
- Dr Michael Yao, Incident Manager of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said “The main challenge is access. It is critical for the team on the ground to structure the response, to set up facilities for testing and treatment”.