COVID-19 Update | March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020
As circumstances around coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to evolve quickly, the California Biotechnology Foundation wants to keep you informed about the progress being made by biotechnology researchers in California and across the nation to expand available testing, treat the virus and prevent its spread.
The following resources track what progress has been made as of March 20, 2020. Notable advancements include:
- California-based pharmaceutical company Gilead is testing Remdesivir (a potential antiviral treatment) in five COVID-19 clinical trials.
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals expects to launch Phase 1 testing of a COVID-19 vaccine on roughly 30 to 50 healthy people in April.
- The University of California is deploying in-house COVID-19 testing, a move that can accelerate the testing process.
- Genentech Initiates Phase III Clinical Trial of Actemra in Hospitalized Patients With Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia
Associated Press – March 19, 2020
Genentech today announced that the company is working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to initiate a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra® (tocilizumab) plus standard of care in hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia compared to placebo plus standard of care.
- An updated guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development
STAT – March 19, 2020
In the months since the novel coronavirus rose from a regional crisis to a global threat, drug makers large and small have scrambled to advance their best ideas for thwarting a pandemic. Some are taking a cue from older antivirals. Some are tapping tried-and-true technologies, and others are pressing forward with futuristic approaches to human medicine.
- U.S. Approves Abbot Labs Coronavirus Test For Hospital UseForbes – March 18, 2020
Abbott Laboratories won U.S. approval for its molecular test for the Coronavirus strain COVID-19, which will be used by hospitals and academic medical centers to speed diagnostic capabilities for the disease sweeping across the country.
- Pfizer and BioNTech announce joint development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine
TechCrunch – March 17, 2020
Pharma giant Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it’s working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine with BioNTech, a German company working on new kinds of immunotherapy treatments. The joint effort, confirmed Tuesday via a signed letter of intent, will see both partners work together on a messenger RNA-based vaccine that will seek to prevent people from contracting the new coronavirus.
- Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find a Coronavirus Treatment
New York Times – March 17, 2020
Many scientists are seeking drugs that attack the virus itself. But the Quantitative Biosciences Institute Coronavirus Research Group, based at the University of California, San Francisco, is testing an unusual new approach. The researchers are looking for drugs that shield proteins in our own cells that the coronavirus depends on to thrive and reproduce.
- As the coronavirus spreads, a drug that once raised the world’s hopes is given a second shot
STAT – March 16, 2020
Now, the descendant of that molecule — Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir — is being rushed to patients with infections from the novel coronavirus in hopes that it can reduce the intensity and duration of Covid-19 and ease the burden of the pandemic on health systems.
- Trials of potential coronavirus treatments start for some existing drugs
Reuters – March 16, 2020
Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Monday they began a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment, while in Spain a separate trial is studying if a combination of two drugs can slow down the spread of coronavirus among people.
- A Virus’ One Purpose, and How Vaccines Thwart It
KQED – March 16, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the Bay Area and the world, the National Institutes of Health says a vaccine for the public is at least a year away. Still, researchers around the world are already working on it, and some clinical trials have begun. To learn about the latest efforts, KQED’s Brian Watt visited the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, a nonprofit research center in San Francisco. He spoke with Senior Researcher Dr. Melanie Ott.
- Coronavirus screening website launched by Google Verily’s Project Baseline
Mercury News – March 15, 2020
A pilot Web site intended to offer COVID-19 risk screening and testing for high-risk individuals set to go live Monday, launched Sunday evening. The site is limited to residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
- UC has a solution to the national shortage of coronavirus testing — do it in house
Los Angeles Times – March 14, 2020
The University of California’s five medical centers are gearing up to expand their own in-house testing for cases of the novel coronavirus — a move that could greatly accelerate efforts to identify infected patients and stem the pandemic.
- First up for COVID-19: nearly 30 clinical readouts before end of April
Biocentury – March 13, 2020
Results from clinical trials for COVID-19 could start to roll in any day, with antimalarials coming through first, according to BioCentury’s analysis of study completion dates in public databases.
- Vir Biotechnology Announces Intent to Collaborate with Biogen on Manufacturing of Antibodies to Potentially Treat COVID-19
VIR – March 12, 2020
Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) today announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) for the development and clinical manufacturing of human monoclonal antibodies for the potential treatment of COVID-19.
California Biotechnology Foundation will continue to monitor breaking news and provide updates weekly.
Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this important industry by visiting the new CABiotech.org
If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.