Research Roundup: Regeneron antibody trial updates, a breathalyzer diagnostic, and vaccines pledged to COVAX
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Regeneron will need to place on hold enrollment of patients requiring high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation in its COVID-19 antibody cocktail clinical trial, based on recommendations from an independent data monitoring committee. The trial can continue to enroll hospitalized patients who need either no or low-flow oxygen, and the treatment’s outpatient trial will continue unaffected. Early data on the antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, indicated it reduced COVID-19–related medical visits by 57 percent. The cocktail is currently under evaluation by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, specifically in mild to moderate outpatients at high risk for poor outcomes.
Singapore-based startup firm Breathonix has developed a breathalyzer test able to diagnose COVID-19 infection in under a minute. The device, designed to avoid cross-contamination, uses disposable mouthpieces and assesses the chemical compounds of the breath to determine infection. Results are then generated by a computer within 60 seconds. The test achieved more than 90 percent accuracy in a pilot clinical trial of 180 people, according to Breathonix, and could act as a first-level screening device with a more sensitive polymerase chain reaction nasal swab test used to confirm the diagnosis. The company will be expanding its trial in Singapore with the intention of improving accuracy and receiving a green light for commercial use in the first quarter of next year.
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced an agreement to supply 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, if approved by regulators, to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility. The vaccine candidate began a phase 1/2 clinical trial in early September, and first results are anticipated in December 2020 to support a phase 3 trial before the end of the year. Sanofi and GSK, in statements on the COVAX partnership, emphasized a commitment to ensuring affordable and accessible COVID-19 vaccines around the world. The COVAX Facility—a global collaboration of governments, global health organizations, businesses, and philanthropic organizations focused on accelerating development and production of COVID-19 products—is designed to ensure people in all parts of the world get access to COVID-19 vaccines once available. More than 180 countries and economies are currently a part of the mechanism.