The FDA issued emergency use authorization for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' antibody therapy for prevention of disease progression and hospitalization in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Antibody therapies are validated in laboratory and animal testing before being studied in humans, and Regeneron's drug was used to treat President Donald Trump after he developed COVID-19.
Two synthetic nanobodies inspired by llamas prevented weight loss -- a sign of severe COVID-19 -- in hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 as well as antibodies derived from convalescent plasma, and nanobodies could be used in COVID-19 prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies, says Twist Bioscience CEO Emily Leproust. A conventional antibody also prevented weight loss in infected hamsters, and Twist plans further testing of all three.
COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna use messenger RNA technology that could usher in "a new era for vaccines and vaccinology," says Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Researchers had been studying mRNA vaccines in animals for years and were ready when the COVID-19 outbreak exploded into a pandemic.
Purdue Pharma has entered guilty pleas to three federal felony counts stemming from the US opioid crisis. The OxyContin maker has agreed to pay $225 million as part of a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, which the Justice Department will largely waive if Purdue becomes a public benefit company or a similar entity as the result of a bankruptcy reorganization.
Medtronic generated $7.6 billion in sales and $489 million in profits during its fiscal second quarter. "Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we're well positioned to accelerate growth over the medium- and long-term," said Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha.
Researchers from Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill., have created an artificial intelligence-based platform that could help detect COVID-19 in chest X-rays. "AI doesn't confirm whether or not someone has the virus. But if we can flag a patient with this algorithm, we could speed up triage before the test results come back," said cardiologist Ramsey Wehbe.
The Access SARS-CoV-2 IgG II, a semi-quantitative COVID-19 antibody test, has been released by Beckman Coulter. The company plans to submit an emergency use authorization application to the FDA for the assay.
The Critical Care Suite 2.0, an X-ray artificial intelligence algorithm to help health care providers assess the correct placement of endotracheal tubes in critically ill COVID-19 patients, has been released by GE Healthcare.
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