Press review


Italy may have first doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine available by end of 2020 - health minister

FLORENCE, 4 Sep (APM) - The health minister has said the first doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine could be available in Italy by the end of the year, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
Roberto Speranza made his comments in an address to the Italian Senate on Thursday. "In the last few hours the contract between the European Commission and AstraZeneca for the production of the anti-Covid vaccine has been finalised," he said.
Speranza noted that the contract with the pharma group came out of an alliance between Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands, which prompted the commission to intervene. According to the minister, if development is successful and the product safe, the first doses of the vaccine could be available by the end of this year, the paper reported.
Speranza highlighted Italy's role in the development of the vaccine, with the viral vector produced by the research centre IRBM and vial filling to be done by Catalent at its site in Anagni south of Rome.
The health minister also reminded the senate that testing of a vaccine developed by the Rome biotech ReiThera in human volunteers started at the end of August (APMHE 68652).

Sanofi/GSK Covid-19 vaccine candiate will be produced at Italian site

An Italian site will be used for the global production of Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine candiate if it is successfully developed, according to Friday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
The partners announced on Thursday the start of a Phase I/II trial of the vaccine candiate (APMHE 68760).
The paper said Sanofi's Anagni plant will be one of four sites involved in the production of vaccine doses. Sanofi has four manufacturing centres in Italy and the one at Anagni, which was founded in 1973, is the largest plant for sterile freeze-dried products in the group.
Mario Merlo, general manager of Sanofi Pasteur, described it as a centre of excellence at a European level for the production of sterile injectable pharmaceutical products. "The official start of the clinical trial is another milestone in the global battle against Covid-19," he told the paper.
Merlo highlighted the need for alliances between healthcare players in the supply chain to ensure that efforts to improve prevention are effective.

Abbott distributes Covid-19 antibody tests in Italy after receiving CE Mark

Abbott has received CE Mark in Europe for the laboratory-based serology blood test for the detection of the antibody, IgG, that identifies if a person has had Covid-19, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.
The new test is the latest of Abbott products developed to support healthcare professionals in the fight against Covid-19 in Italy, the company said. Abbott has already started distributing IgM tests to Italian laboratories to increase the chances of monitoring the spread of Covid-19 infection.
Luigi Ambrosini, Abbott general manager and CEO in Italy said: "The antibody test will continue to play an important role to better understand the virus, the prevalence of Covid-19 in a specific area, whether a patient has been infected and what stage the infection is at."
Abbott has developed specific IgM and IgG tests for healthcare professionals to analyse in more detail how a person's immune system is responding and at what stage it is in the healing process, the paper said.

AIFA makes grant for study into liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer patients

Medicines agency AIFA has made a grant of more than €1.3 million for independent research into liquid biopsy used as a personalised treatment of colorectal cancer to make therapies more effective, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
The project is being coordinated by the director of medical oncology at a Reggio Emilia research centre, Carmine Pinto. The study is of metastatic colorectal cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy in combination with biological drugs.
The aim of the research is to detect molecular alterations in the tumour DNA that indicate resistance to therapies in order to optimise the choice of drugs, the paper said.
The study's title is: "Phase III study in mCRC patients with RAS/BRAF wild type tissue and RAS mutated in LIquid Biopsy to appear in first-line therapy FOLFIRI plus CetuximAb or BevacizumAb (LIBImAb Study)."

Alarm over potassium clavulanate leak at antibiotic plant

There was alarm in the North Italian city of Rovereto on Wednesday after a gas leaked from an antibiotic production site, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported the same day.
Yellowish smoke was seen in the area of a former Sandoz production centre which now belongs to Suanfarma. Civili protection officials advised the public to stay indoors and keep windows closed.
An investigation established that the gases were potassium clavulanate, a component used for the production of antibiotic drugs. The authorities subsequently announced that the situation was under control and there was no risk to the public from the gas.



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