Blue Steens in May 2020
Catch up on Blue Steens articles and venture further
|May 29|| 3|
This month on Blue Steens
Stop COVID-19 hackathon
Hackathons aren’t necessarily just for coders. I’d encourage anyone to contribute to such events. You can be sure to walk away enriched at the end. Read about my most recent experience at a global COVID-19-themed hackathon.
Beyond Blue Steens
After a surge of PCR kit releases from March onwards, we’re now also seeing serological tests appear one after another, such as those from CeGaT, Biomerica, Roche, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Quotient, Abbott. After concerns about the quality of early kits and increased scrutiny, most recent tests promise sensitivity and specificity at/near 100%.
Some other interesting antibody tests:
FDA nod for first at-home saliva test from Rutgers University
Duke-NUS Medical School’s test detects neutralising antibodies (i.e. effective against virus)
Gilead has entered deals with 5 generic companies to cover supply to 127 countries
NIH trial of remdesivir & baricitinib (Olumiant, anti-inflammatory) combination started (> 1,000 patients, controlled)
Promising results from clinical study suggest faster recovery (> 1,000 patients, uncontrolled)
Controlled global chloroquine trial of prophylactic potential with > 50,000 healthcare workers
Controlled NIH trial of combination of hydroxychloroquine & azithromycin (antibiotic). Phase 2b, ~ 2000 patients.
Passive immunisation involves administering protective antibodies to the patient (essentially what breast milk does for a baby). Plasma therapy is one option (more details in April newsletter), purified or lab-produced antibodies are other ways. In principle, this approach can be applied prophylactically (vaccination) or as treatment.
Mount Sinai Health System & Sorrento Therapeutics collaboration aiming for antibody treatment trials to begin soon and submission for FDA approval by Sep 2020
Takeda aiming to start antibody therapy trial in June 2020
Kamada & Kedrion to develop plasma-derived antibody product
Amazon involved in development of plasma donor database
Abivax phase 2b/3 trial approved in Germany. First-in-class small molecule treatment with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. > 1000 elderly & high-risk patients, trial start late May. (Other trials for treatment of HIV and some inflammatory diseases.) [German]
Triple therapy with interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin (phase 2 trial) may reduce period of viral shedding and, thus, reduce viral load in patient and contagiousness.
Synairgen’s Interferon beta to prevent harmful lung damage trialled in UK
🏴 Scottish Pneumagen’s drug works by preventing the entry of viruses into lung cells. Hence, it may be of benefit against an array of airway viruses.
Sinovac Biotech looking for phase 3 trial locations internationally
Pfizer, BioNTech plan clinical trial start by end of May 2020
European biotech collaboration planning clinical trials in summer 2020
Cytiva & Takara Bio to collaborate on manufacture of DNA vaccine. (Active immunisation approach that’s thought to be safer than the traditional approach of using weakened versions of the virus.)
⊳ Other news
International regulators to cooperate on observational studies even after pandemic to share resources & trial data
🏴 Scottish Tech Army to engage Scottish tech talent in response to COVID-19
New investment for Dynamic42 who develop organ-on-chip systems, i.e. miniature organ models, for pre-clinical toxicity studies. This tech may reduce the need for animal testing and make human trials safer, too. [German]
Out and about
Stop COVID-19 Hackathon, 13 Apr-11 May 2020
Link to announcement of winners here.
Ethereal Summit, 7 & 8 May 2020"What we're talking about is not privacy-preserving technology but dignity-preserving technology.", Alex Cahana, chat at . Moderated by .
Women in Enterprise Blockchains [replay], 20 May 2020
LinkedIn group here.