Research Roundup: US backs IP waiver, injectable therapy shows promise, Moderna vaccine effective in adolescents
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Last week, the US government announced it would support a proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. The proposal, first introduced to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last fall by South Africa and India, would cover patents, industrial designs, copyrights, and protection of trade secrets, ultimately making it easier for countries that permit compulsory licensing to allow a manufacturer to export vaccines. In order to pass, the proposal would need support from all WTO members, and the measure is still opposed by a number of high-income countries. Following the US statement, however, several countries announced they are open to discussing the proposal. A decision on whether to grant the waiver is expected next month.
An existing, cheap therapy could have potential as a long-acting injectable treatment for COVID-19, according to a recent preclinical study by researchers at the University of Liverpool. The data showed niclosamide, a therapy used to treat tapeworm infestations, to be highly effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in multiple laboratory studies. The researchers formed dispersible solid drug nanoparticle formulations of niclosamide that can be stored as solids, reconstituted with water, and then utilized as a long-acting injectable. The research team is looking to move the therapy into human trials and is working with a contract manufacturing organization toward scale up and clinical manufacturing.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 96 percent effective in preventing illness in adolescents aged 12 to 17, according to early data released by the company Thursday. The vaccine was also generally well tolerated, and the majority of adverse events were mild or moderate, according to the statement. The analysis, which came from a study of the vaccine among 3,235 participants in the United States, identified no serious safety concerns. Moderna said it is in discussions with regulators about a potential amendment to expand its regulatory authorization to this younger age group. It is currently authorized for people aged 18 and over in countries where it has been approved.