What coronavirus treatment and vaccine candidates are showing promising results?

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14:21pm, Tue 25 Aug 2020
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Researchers across the world are working hard to develop coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

This is some of the progress that has been made in the bid to combat Covid-19.

 – Oxford/AstraZeneca 

Preliminary results of phase one/two clinical trials of the University of Oxford’s vaccine candidate suggest it is safe and induces an immune reaction.

Phase two, in the UK only, and phase three trials to confirm whether it effectively protects against the virus are taking place in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

Clinical trials may have gathered enough safety and efficacy data by the end of the year, and there may be enough data to put the vaccine before regulators this year.

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– Moderna vaccine

In the US, drugs firm Moderna’s vaccine trial is currently in phase three, and it hopes to have enrolled 30,000 participants by September.

– Novavax

Another candidate being trialled is the offering from US biotech, Novavax.

Under an in-principle agreement, the UK has secured 60 million doses of the vaccine, and will provide infrastructure to Novavax in running a phase three clinical trial in the UK.

The company plans to manufacture its vaccine in the UK with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

–  BioNtech and Pfizer

Elsewhere, early phases of the BioNtech and Pfizer vaccine clinical trial suggest the vaccine induces a robust immune response in healthy adults.

The phase two/three study will enrol up to 30,000 participants aged between 18 and 85.

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While there is no cure for Covid-19, a number of different drugs are being trialled to help treat the disease.

Here are some that are showing positive results:

– Dexamethasone 

The cheap and readily available steroid dexamethasone was responsible for the survival of one in eight patients on ventilators during the Oxford University-based Recovery trial.

Researchers found the drug reduced deaths by up to a third among patients on ventilators, and by a fifth for those on oxygen.

The data comes from the biggest randomised trial of Covid-19 treatments in the world, involving almost all hospitals in the UK.

The Recovery trial is looking at a number of other drugs including anti-inflammatory Tocilizumab, and a commonly used antibiotic Azithromycin.

Coronavirus – Wed Jun 17, 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

– Remdesivir

The anti-viral drug remdesivir was developed for use against Ebola.

It has been approved for use in Covid-19 patients by the US and the UK, among other countries, after data suggested it can cut recovery time by about four days.

A global clinical trial has found that remdesivir cut the length of time people suffered symptoms from 15 days to 11.

– AstraZeneca

In more recent developments, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has given the first volunteers in its clinical trial doses of a new drug to help prevent and treat Covid-19.

The group said the drug – known as AZD7442 – is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies.

A so-called monoclonal antibody combination works by mimicking the body’s natural antibodies.

Meanwhile, another drug developed by the company, known as AZD1656, will begin an advanced clinical trial this week.

The new therapy could treat people with diabetes suffering from Covid-19.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Agency (MHRA) has approved the trial following new pre-clinical research that suggests a glucose kinase activator (AZD1656) could help diabetes sufferers infected with coronavirus by dampening the overactive response of the immune system typically acute in those patients with raised blood glucose levels.

The trial will involve hospitalised patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms, and if successful could ultimately be prescribed by GPs for people with diabetes presenting with early symptoms of the virus.

Excalibur Medicines Ltd has brought together the scientific intellectual property, international funding and research team to drive the project forward.

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