WARSAW, 12 Jun (APM) - The six countries responsible for half of the EU’s drug production have made a joint appeal to the European Union to coordinate manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and protective equipment within the bloc, Rzeczpospolita (pA15) reported on Wednesday.
The countries - Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and Poland - also called for crisis management and pharma import and export procedures to be centralised within the EU.
The European Commission is working on a pharmaceutical strategy to regain independence from pharma producers in Asia after the troubles individual EU Member States faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Poland, being the smallest drug producer from the group, is supporting the initiative to gain a stronger position on the EU pharma market.
Polish neurology experts aiming to include all SMA patients in trials by year-end
Polish neurology experts hope to include all spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients in Poland in drug programmes by the end of the year, Rzeczpospolita (pQ4) reported on Tuesday.
The news came alongside a Lancet Neurology report showing Biogen's Spinraza (nusinersen) has proved effective in combating the orphan disease in adult patients.
Neurology experts say the aim is to include all patients in trials by improving SMA diagnostics and demanding the introduction of screening for all Polish infants.
Chloroquine effectiveness against Covid-19 yet to be determined
The has Lancet withdrawn its publication claiming that chloroquine is not only ineffective against Covid-19, but also contributes to the death of patients, since it is still to be established whether the malaria drug can combat the virus, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pA8) reported on Monday.
In Poland, the drug was approved for treating Covid-19 in mid-March as a support drug, but there is no consensus among experts as to whether it is truly effective or not. Other countries treat chloroquine as an experimental drug, as recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), while experts are still waiting for the results of clinical trials conducted on Covid-19 patients worldwide.
The journal pulled the publication late last week, two weeks after it was first aired, after the authors of the article were requested to conduct an additional examination. It was discovered that the quoted sources and health centres did not cooperate in writing the article, and the publication was voluntarily withdrawn, leaving the drug’s effectiveness to undergo further research.
According to the initial unpublished results of the British researchers' working on a UK Covid-19 study known as the RECOVERY project, chloroquine does not increase the risk of death in the tested patients but also does not reduce it.
The scientists from the Polish Society of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases are starting research named SARSTer, which will compare different strategies in curing the virus, and will show the true global experience of 18 health centres and infectious disease wards in fighting the disease. Additionally, non-commercial research started in mid-April into the effectiveness of Chloroquine in outpatient treatment of Covid-19 with telemedicine in comparison to regular treatment in isolation based on 400 patients. It is being funded by the Polish Medical Research Agency (ABM).
Biotechs worldwide are searching for a Covid-19 vaccine
Over 120 research teams in biotechs across the world are conducting research into a Covid-19 vaccine-candidate, but despite efforts and funding - both from government and private sources - experts do not expect a working vaccine before mid-2021, Rzeczpospolita (pL4) reported on Tuesday.
However, some biotech companies have suggested shorter timelines. U.S.-based Novavax announced the start of the first clinical trials of a vaccine in May and, if it proves effective, they expect the vaccine to be ready by the end of the year. Moderna is also promising to have a vaccine this year.
In any case, no vaccine is expected to be ready by the autumn of this year, when the virus is expected to return in its second wave.
Share prices of Biotechs are rising on the Polish stock market
The global pandemic has put the biotech sector in the spotlight, resulting in rapid growth of the sector on the Polish stock market, Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy (p4) reported on Saturday, (p12) on Monday, (p3) Tuesday, and (p1, p10-11) on Wednesday. Rzeczpospolita (pA15) also reported the story on Wednesday.
According to experts, the global biotech market, worth $270 billion in 2014, will exceed $600 billion by the end of the year and is estimated to grow up to $730 billion in 2025. Investments from venture capital funds ($19 billion in 2019) and interest from stock market investors are increasing, both newspapers reported on Wednesday.
The share prices of three biotechs, PZ Cormay, Mercator Medical and Biomed Lublin, in particular are rising on the Polish stock market due to their activities related to combating Covid-19, Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy reported on Saturday and Tuesday.
Biomed Lublin has reported a 600% rise since March, Parkiet noted on Tuesday. This increase is primarily due to the start of work on a Covid-19 immunoglobulin drug using the plasma of the survivors of the virus, reported Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy on Saturday.
Selvita’s share price has also reached a record high on the Polish stock market and is expected to continue this positive trend, Parkiet added on Monday.
Biomed needs plasma of Covid-19 survivors to produce its immunoglobulin vaccine
Biomed Lublin, a Polish tuberculosis (BCG) vaccine producer, has the necessary equipment and technology to produce anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulins from the plasma of Covid-19 survivors, but the plasma it receives is unsuitable for production, Rzeczpospolita (pA1, A2, A16) reported on Friday.
The recently announced cooperation between Biomed Lublin and Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Lublin, financed by the Polish Medical Research Agency (ABM), gave hope for the production of a working Covid-19 vaccine in accordance with the guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
But despite already having received 400 litres of plasma from survivors, Biomed cannot start production, since the plasma is 'deactivated' as a result of collection procedures. It therefore cannot be used for the vaccine.
Neither the Ministry of Health (MoH), which supervises Regional Blood Centres (RCKiK), nor the ABM or Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Lublin are commenting on the situation and a possible change to collection procedures.