May 28, 2020

Covid-19 roundup: Gilead says 5-day course of remdesivir as effective as 10-day course

Daily Briefing

    Ford develops software to clean the inside of its police cars, CDC advises against using antibody tests to determine whether people can return to work, and more.

    Extended through June: Your 45-minute Covid-19 weekly webinar

    • CDC in new guidance said antibody tests that determine whether someone has previously had the new coronavirus shouldn't be used when deciding whether people should return to work. CDC said it has concerns over the accuracy of the tests and added that even if a person has antibodies that suggest they've already had the new coronavirus, CDC is unsure how long immunity will last and how durable that immunity is (Sullivan, The Hill, 5/27).

    • Cleveland Clinic CEO Scott Kirby announced that United Airlines has partnered with the Clinic, as well as experts from Clorox, to help develop disinfection protocols for its airplanes. Jim Merlino, chief clinical transformation officer at the Clinic, said disinfection and safety protocols will be offered by the Clinic for free to any business that needs help (Morse, Healthcare Finance, 5/25).

    • CVS Health on Thursday announced it will expand its drive-thru Covid-19 testing sites to 350 locations in 14 states. CVS said its goal is to open 1,000 drive-thru sites by the end of May. The sites will rely on self-swab kits that will be sent for analysis to an independent, third-party lab. CVS said results from the tests would be available in three days (Roy, Reuters, 5/21).

    • Ford has developed self-cleaning software that cleans the interior of the car to kill any traces of the new coronavirus that may have been missed by other cleaning methods. The software is available on 176,000 of its hybrid-electric Ford Explorers, which are sold as police vehicles. The software uses the car's engine and climate control systems to increase the temperature inside the car to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes (Muller, Axios, 5/27).

    • Gilead on Wednesday published additional clinical trial results that show there was no significant difference in outcomes when a Covid-19 patient was treated with a five-day course of its drug, remdesivir, or a 10-day course. Gilead tested the shorter drug regimen on 397 hospitalized patients with Covid-19, the majority of whom were not on ventilators (Beasley, Reuters, 5/27; Walker, MedPage Today, 5/27).

    • GSK on Thursday announced plans to produce one billion doses of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, for a Covid-19 vaccine shot next year. GSK said the boosters would help scale up the production of any vaccines against Covid-19 and could be an important part of at least seven vaccines currently being developed (Aripaka et al., Reuters, 5/28).

    • Merck on Thursday announced that it will partner with nonprofit IAVI to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus that relies on similar technology used to develop Merck's vaccine against Ebola. Merck also plans to acquire Themis, which is developing its own experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus, and Merck is partnering with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop an experimental drug to treat Covid-19 (Meredith, CNBC, 5/26; Herper, STAT News, 5/26; Steenhuysen/Erman, Reuters, 5/26).

    • A group of research institutions, blood banks, drugmakers, and patients who have recovered from Covid-19 have formed a campaign called The Fight Is In Us, aiming to get patients who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their plasma. The plasma donations will be done using a tool developed by Microsoft and is being used in clinical trials to understand which antibodies most effectively fight the new coronavirus (Marcus, Wall Street Journal, 5/26).
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