20 July 2020

• In the wake of accusations that Russian hackers were attempting to steal vaccine research, Russia’s R-Pharm announces that it has entered a deal with AstraZeneca to produce and distribute its experimental coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Source
• Positive results from two early-stage vaccine trials are reported in The Lancet, and an additional result is presented by press release. Although both candidates generated immune responses, it is not known whether, and for how long, these will protect against COVID-19.
• A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II trial of two different doses of CanSino’s COVID-19 vaccine in Wuhan, China was conducted in 508 healthy adults aged 18 and up (notably, the average age was 39). Most adverse events were mild or moderate. Both doses of vaccine generated antibody and T-cell responses, but older people and those with immunity to adenovirus which this vaccine uses as a vector, may require a booster dose; this will be explored in phase IIb trials. Source
• A phase I/II, randomized, single-blind, controlled trial of a single dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222 (with 10 people receiving boosters) or a meningitis vaccine in 1,077 healthy adults aged 18–55, was conducted in the UK. Most adverse events were mild or moderate; paracetamol lessened them. The vaccine generated antibody and T-cell responses; those who received the booster had stronger antibody responses. A two-dose strategy is being assessed in ongoing trials, which will enroll more diverse populations. Source
• A press release and pre-print, non-peer reviewed article issued by Pfizer/BIONTECH reports promising results from their 60-person phase I/II trial of BNT162b1 in healthy adults aged 18-55, noting both antibody and T-cell responses after two doses of the vaccine 21 days apart. Most adverse events were mild-to-moderate. Britain secured 30 million doses of the vaccine, but the financial details were not disclosed. Sources 1,2,3
• Positive results are reported from a 101-person phase II double -blind , placebo-controlled study of SNG001, an inhalable interferon beta produced by Synairgen. SNG001 reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 by 79% among people hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than doubled their likelihood of recovery. Despite the trial’s small sample size and need for larger studies to confirm the results, the news triggered a stock increase of over 450%. Sources 1,2

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