This month on Blue Steens
Federated learning in healthcare
Federated learning is a machine learning paradigm that allows to train algorithms collaboratively without the need for source data exchange between the parties.
The winding path from lab to patient
Despite potential short-cuts, drug development is a lengthy and risky process that culminates in marketing approval. However, just because a drug achieves regulatory approval, does not mean that it will be instantly available to those in need.
Beyond Blue Steens
For a quick explanation of the difference between genetic (PCR) and antibody (serological) tests, check out last month’s COVID-19 Testing section. Note that a newly-infected person does not yet have antibodies but will have genetic virus material. In contrast, a person who has overcome the infection, may not have detectable genetic material anymore but will have antibodies. Hence, timing of these tests is important.
Emergency use authorisation for point-of-care kit that yields positive results in 5 min, negative results in 13 min.
🏴 Glasgow University to host new Covid-19 testing facility - The uni lab will be staffed by > 500 volunteers and begin work in mid-April. A few companies, Wellcome Trust and University of Dundee also involved.
Plasma therapy uses blood plasma from survivors (i.e. the cell-free liquid part of blood containing antibodies) as treatment for patients:
Convalescent Plasma to Treat COVID-19: Possibilities and Challenges (academic journal editorial)
Convalescent plasma transfusion shows promise in small Chinese study
Noticed that this one escaped me in March: Gilead requested to lose (!) orphan drug designation due to public backlash.
These drugs aim to prevent a potentially fatal overreaction of the immune system to the infection.
InflaRx uses anti-C5a antibodies. [German]
Tiziana develops handheld inhaler/nebuliser to be used to deliver anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies directly into patient’s lungs.
BioCryst launches early-stage study of galidesivir for COVID-19 - Phase 1 trial of broad-spectrum antiviral in Brazil.
Collaboration of 15 pharma companies with Gates Foundation includes sharing of proprietary compound libraries.
Phase 3 trial with diabetes drug, dapagliflozin, to reduce C-19 disease progression and complications.
🏴 NovaBiotics’s Nylexa to treat potentially lethal secondary bacterial lung infections in C-19 patients. Trials could start in 2nd half of 2020.
BioNTech & Pfizer [German] - Phase-1/2 trial OK in Germany
NIH & 16 drug companies (treatments & vaccines)
Sanofi & GSK - Clinical trials expected in 2nd half of 2020.
VBI Vaccines & National Research Council of Canada - Aiming to develop a vaccine against various coronaviruses to induce wider immunity.
Novavax fast-tracks phase 1 testing - Start by mid-May.
Johnson & Johnson identifies a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate - Human trials expected by Sep 2020. J&J intend to provide it on a not-for-profit basis.
University of Pittsburgh found potential vaccine - Animal results promising. FDA application for clinical trials underway.
⊳ Other news
Virological assessment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 - Analysis of 9 patients with mild symptoms. Some key takeaways: patients highly contagious in 1st week and still potentially contagious after symptoms have gone; antibodies detectable after 7-14 days.
Scientists have created a new type of robot that is literally alive - The so-called xenobots are part living cells, part machine. They are programmable to take on different forms, self-heal and complete tasks. Their life span is about 1 week. Let’s hope bioethics catch up quickly with the tech evolution.
Flagship raises $1.1B to create biotechs for post-pandemic world - Whilst loads of funding is currently pouring into finding solutions for the COVID-19 crisis, Flagship Pioneering is thinking about opportunities in the 3 years after this crisis and is ready to fund a “new generation of companies”. A significant focus area is disease prevention.
Storing medical information below the skin’s surface - Applying near-infrared dye (quantum dots) alongside vaccine as proof of vaccination.
Korean Regulator OKs 1st AI-based cancer diagnosis software (prostate cancer)
Out and about
More like ‘in and about’ these days…
CARES, FEMA, COVID19: What healthcare providers, entities need to know (EY), 30 Mar 2020
Request on-demand recoding here.
Blockchain for Medical Research - Book Release, 31 Mar 2020
Stop COVID-19 Hackathon, 13 Apr-11 May 2020
EY Global Blockchain Summit, 21-23 Apr 2020Blockchain is not just about improving efficiency & transparency but also about creating new revenue streams for biz. - Chen Zur, panelist at global summit. #supplychain
STM and Center for Open Science: US Workshop – April 2020, 27 Apr 2020
- Legacy systems can be hooked up by the sound of it. Design w/ user in mind. "There is a reason biz do biz the way they do." Transition rather than disruption.
Chris @blue_steensInteresting @mediledger Webinar #2 just kicked off. It's about managing #Pharmaceuticals Contracts & Chargebacks thru #blockchain by putting as little (!) info as necessary on-chain. #lifesciences #supplychain #healthcare #procurement #distribution