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Weekly News Round-up – 29/1/21

6 months ago By Josh Neil
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Proventa International Weekly News

In the news this week, the ongoing dispute between the UK and European Commission over vaccines entering the UK could lead to two months’ delay in herd immunity and thousands of deaths if EU plans go through. In other news, a report has found the pharma industry still underprepared for the next global pandemic; and Sanofi backs Pfizer in producing 

EU COULD PREVENT MILLIONS OF VACCINES ENTERING UK – The European Commission could block millions of vaccines from entering the UK. Following a vaccine shortage in several Member States, the Commission announced plans to allow regulators new powers to block export requests.

Herd immunity in the UK could be delayed by two months if it is forced to rely solely on home-produced vaccinations, putting thousands of lives at risk. Beyond this, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations warned that this plan could also lead to a breakdown in global vaccine supply. 

NOVAVAX CORONAVIRUS VACCINE ALMOST 90% EFFECTIVE IN TRIALS – Novavax’s anti-COVID vaccine has completed phase 3 trials in the UK, showing 89.3% efficacy. It has also been shown to work against both the more infectious UK and South African strains of the virus. In a Phase 2 study in South Africa, the vaccine proved slightly less effective, averaging 60% efficacy. 

Novavax’s vaccine differs from the AZ and Pfizer products, in that it stems from moth cells infected with a genetically altered virus and adjuvant combo. As with the Oxford/AZ vaccine, however, it can be stored at normal temperatures, ensuring easier patient delivery. 

THe UK has so far secured access to 60 million Novavax doses, which should ease some of the tension caused by manufacturing problems faced by both Pfizer’s and AZ’s vaccines.

PHARMA STILL NOT READY FOR NEXT PANDEMIC – The not-for-profit Access to Medicine Foundation has published an independent report claiming that the pharma sector is still underprepared for the next global pandemic. The report identified Nipah and nine other illnesses, out of the 16 currently identified by the W.H.O as major public health risks, as significant dangers for which pharma has no development ongoing in its pipelines. 

The report also warns of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), arguing that an AMR pandemic is “inevitable, unless the pharma industry seriously commits to developing replacement antibiotics”.

In other news: 

R&D
RedX Pharma to focus on pipeline that previously found LOXO-305
GSK forced to cut ulcerative colitis drug trial in research setback

Clinical
Merck drops out of COVID-19 vaccine race

Manufacturing
Sanofi to work with Pfizer on coronavirus vaccine production

That’s all for now. See you next week!

Joshua Neil, Editor
Proventa International

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