Coronavirus Notebook: Drugs Old & New, Equitable Access To Vaccines, And Vial Supplies
In this edition of the Coronavirus Notebook, an EU consortium uses a supercomputing platform to identify the generic drug raloxifene as a potential COVID-19 treatment, and the World Health Organization proposes a set of principles for distributing a coronavirus vaccine at global level.
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The standout development in this latest Coronavirus Notebook is that the cheap and plentiful steroid dexamethasone has been shown to reduce deaths by a third in ventilated COVID-19 patients in the UK Recovery trial. In other news, there is fresh funding for smaller firms working on potential treatments and vaccines, and a number of organizations have decided to make their research tools and resources available free of charge in return for open publication of any coronavirus-related findings.
Amid the growing threat posed by variants of the coronavirus, the European Commission has published new rules allowing modified vaccines to be approved more quickly. The UK has identified one version of the B.1.167 virus variant as the most transmissible, although the jury is still out on its ability to evade vaccine protection.
As the World Health Organization brands the Indian virus a “variant of concern,” the UK is planning to use a lab-grown virus variant in challenge trials of current and new vaccines, and is also investing in new variant vaccine testing facilities. A new study will use Oxford Immunotec’s T cell test to monitor people’s immunological response to infection or vaccination.