Press review

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AstraZeneca says in-development Covid-19 vaccine might offer one year's protection

Country : France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, U.S., UK

Keywords :
LONDON, 19 June (APM) - AstraZeneca's chief executive Pascal Soriot has claimed the Covid-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University may protect people from catching the disease for a year, the Mail Online reported on Tuesday.
AZD1222 is currently being trialled on more than 10,000 people but there is no scientific evidence it works, the Mail said.
But Soriot said he is confident it would prevent infection for "about a year", despite results from the trial not due until August.
It said AstraZeneca is banking on the experimental vaccine working after signing multiple deals with countries around the worldto supply billions of doses of the vaccine.
The Cambridge-based firm on Saturday agreed to supply up to 400million doses in Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
It has already agreed deals to produce 400 million for the U.S. and 100million for the UK, with the aim to start supplying them by October, the Mail added.
AstraZeneca also has a deal in place to produce a billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries by next year.

Shionogi CEO on Covid-19 plans

The FT at the weekend carried an interview with Shionogi's chief executive Isao Teshirogi who said there is a need for a long-term global strategy to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines.
He told the paper that the healthcare community needs to consider the capacity for vaccines and what prices they will have.
Teshirogi also noted that there is the possibility that companies working in the area may get no return on their investment.
Other issues mentioned by Teshirogi include doubts on the fast timelines of some of Shionogi's rivals, noting that the earliest Shionogi would be able to distribute a vaccine to health professionals would be January.

Imperial initiates human trials for Covid-19 vaccine

The Times on Monday said that human trials of Imperial College London's Covid-19 vaccine candidate will begin this week.
The researchers will initially recruit 120 people for the Phase I trial, which will check that the vaccine is safe, said the paper. A larger trial, involving about 6,000 people, will follow if results are promising.
The article highlighted that the team has pledged to make the vaccine available at the lowest possible cost in the UK and the developing world by being out-licensed to a social-enterprise company called VacEquity Global Health (VGH), which would waive royalty payments.
The paper spoked to the project's leader Professor Robin Shattock who said that enough vaccine could be made for the UK for about £200 million. "That’s roughly £3 for each person to be immune, assuming it works. That’s really good value."

World needs several drugs working together

The Times on Wednesday carried a lengthy piece into existing drugs being tested for Covid-19. These include Gilead's remdesivir and corticosteroid drug dexamethasone.
However, the paper argues these drugs and others being tested will be needed in combination to tackle the virus. It said the same approach will be needed for HIV AIDS in the 1980s which it said was a far scarier virus than the current coronavirus.

PM hails dexamethasone as 'biggest breakthrough yet' in Covid-19 fight

The Mail Online on Tuesday said Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the "biggest breakthrough yet" in the UK's fight against Covid-19 as it was announced a drug that could save up to a third of critically-ill Covid-19 patients.
Dexamethasone, described by the Mail as a "cheap steroid that has been around for decades", has become the first medicine proven to reduce the death rate among hospitalised patients. (APMHE 67785)
An Oxford University scientist who led a UK trial of the drug, Professor Peter Horby, said that treating eight people with the drug could save one life and cost just £40 in total.
The FT on Wednesday reported that pharma companies are preparing to ramp up the mass production of the drug.
India-based Cipla, one of the world's largest generics drug manufacturers, said it would "immediately" resume production of the tablet form of dexamethasone.

Anti-inflammatories may worsen Covid-19 symptoms

Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory painkillers could make hospital patients with coronavirus more likely to die, the Mail online on Wednesday quoted a study as saying.
The findings come from South Korean looking at deaths and complications in Covid-19 patient. They suggested the common painkiller drugs raised the risk of death by 65%
The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may push up the risk of serious heart or kidney complications by 85%, according to the results.
Scientists at the Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, studied a total of 1,824 hospital patients who had Covid-19.
They found people who had had a prescription for NSAIDs in the seven days before joining the study were more likely to die of coronavirus, the Mail said.

Inside story of a 'disgraced' Insys in opioid epidemic

The FT on Friday carries a lengthy feature into Insys, maker of opioid fentanyl spray Subsys.
Insys filed for bankruptcy in 2019 (APMHE 63290) after it reached a $225 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department (APMHE 63252) over claims it had bribed doctors to prescribe Subsys.
The FT said executives from Insys became the first pharmaceutical bosses to be handed jail sentences for their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic.
It describes how a 62-year-old mother from New Jersey stood outside the court in Boston in January and accused John Kapoor, the Insys founder, and his colleagues of a "greed and fraud" that led to the death of her daughter Sarah when she was 32. "They are no different from mobsters," it quoted her as saying.
Seven of the Insys executives and employees on trial were found guilty of masterminding and participating in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe the drug.
Kapoor was sentenced to five and a half years on charges that included racketeering conspiracy. Michael Babich, Insys' former chief executive and Alec Burlakoff, former vice-president of sales, co-operated with prosecutors and received two and a half and 26 months, respectively.
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