NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact. Globally, infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis C and of course the virus which has caused the current pandemic, put major strains on public health. Since the virus has become a major concern, scientists have begun to use a powerful new blood test to help identify people who have previously been exposed to the virus. A report by NPR from earlier this March explained the importance of such information for understanding the unfolding epidemic; "That means the test can identify silent infections, as well as identifying people who were once sick but have recovered. If it turns out that many people got infected with the novel coronavirus but didn't get sick, that means the virus is less likely to be fatal than it now appears," according to NPR's report. In fact, blood testing and diagnosis is tremendously important for today's healthcare system. AnPac Bio-Medical Science Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: ANPC), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD), AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN), Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT), Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: COCP)
In response to the outbreak, governments around the world have focused their resources on curing the viral infection. According to a report published by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), disease trackers in Singapore have used an experimental antibody test to confirm that a suspected patient was infected. The patient was one of two people who together formed a missing link between two clusters of cases that each occurred in a Singaporean church. "The group that developed the test, at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, is among the front-runners, although its assay has to be validated before it is taken into production and deployed widely. In blood samples from recovered patients, the team identified antibodies targeting the spike protein that proved able to block the virus from killing cells in laboratory tests. In parallel, they created synthetic viral proteins that can detect those antibodies in a blood sample without having to use the live virus," AAAS explains. In the meantime, various companies from a vast field of industries, including biotechs, medical device manufacturers, tech conglomerates and others have all made numerous announcements of products or services related to the pandemic.
AnPac Bio-Medical Science Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: ANPC) announced breaking news earlier last week that, "the Company has commenced operations of its new Philadelphia lab, with the completion of its facility renovation and first phase equipment installation in July 2020. A Roche Cobas e411 machine, a diagnostic analyzer, which has received the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization for performing COVID-19 anti-body tests, is among the Laboratory's first phase equipment.
'AnPac Bio plans to perform both cancer screening research on its CDA technology and offer for commercial purposes COVID-19 antibody tests using the Roche Cobas e411 machine once these tests have been respectively qualified and approved as per FDA regulations,' said Dr. Chris Yu, AnPac Bio's CEO. In addition, Dr. Yu explained that 'the Company's San Jose lab has been validating the COVID-19 anti-body test on Roche's Cobas e411 machine since the second quarter of 2020, and after the validation is completed in the second half of 2020, AnPac Bio will conclude any other regulatory approvals in order to begin commercial transactions.'
AnPac Bio's CEO, Dr. Chris Yu, further commented, 'The commencement in operations of our Philadelphia lab signals that AnPac Bio is entering into a new growth phase in the United States. Our significant patent portfolio (19 US issued patents to date), highly innovative cancer screening technology (Cancer Differentiation Analysis Technology (CDA)) and its sample size (> 180,000 samples), reputable medical institution partners, and now our bio-medical labs on both the East and the West coasts, will greatly contribute to our success in the US.'
About AnPac Bio: AnPac Bio is a biotechnology company focused on early cancer screening and detection, with 128 issued patents as of June 30, 2020. With two certified clinical laboratories in China and one CLIA and CAP accredited clinical laboratory in the United States, AnPac Bio performs a suite of cancer screening and detection tests, including CDA (Cancer Differentiation Analysis), bio-chemical, immunological, and genomics tests. According to Frost & Sullivan, AnPac Bio ranked third worldwide and first in China among companies offering next-generation early cancer screening and detection technologies in terms of the number of clinical samples for cancer screening and detection, based on approximately 41,700 clinical samples as at May 2020. AnPac Bio's CDA technology platform has been shown in retrospective validation studies to be able to detect the risk of over 20 different cancer types with high sensitivity and specificity. For more information, please visit: https://www.Anpacbio.com."
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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) announced earlier last month additional data on remdesivir, an investigational antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19, adding to the available body of knowledge on treatment outcomes with remdesivir. The data are being presented at the Virtual COVID-19 Conference as part of the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020: Virtual) and include a comparative analysis of the Phase 3 SIMPLE-Severe trial and a real-world retrospective cohort of patients with severe COVID-19. In this analysis, remdesivir was associated with an improvement in clinical recovery and a 62 percent reduction in the risk of mortality compared with standard of care – an important finding that requires confirmation in prospective clinical trials. Separate subgroup analyses from the Phase 3 SIMPLE-Severe trial, including an evaluation of the safety and efficacy of remdesivir across different racial and ethnic patient subgroups treated in the United States, found that traditionally marginalized racial or ethnic groups treated with remdesivir in this study experienced similar clinical outcomes as the overall patient population in the study.
AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) announced last week the first shipment of FLUMIST® QUADRIVALENT (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal) doses in the US for the 2020-2021 influenza season. FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT, the only nasal-spray flu vaccine, is indicated for those ages 2 through 49. It may not prevent influenza in everyone who gets vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued statements encouraging the importance of flu vaccination rates for the 2020-21 season as a part of efforts to help reduce burden on the healthcare system and ensure resources are available should there be a resurgence or continuation at present levels of COVID-19 during that time. In response, AstraZeneca has increased production of FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT doses in the US by over 25% more than previously planned, a majority of which are expected to be available by the end of September.
Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT) announced back in June that its oral COVID-19 vaccine has been selected to participate in a non-human primate (NHP) challenge study, organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed, a new national program aiming to provide substantial quantities of safe, effective vaccine for Americans by January 2021. The study is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of Vaxart's oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate. "We are very pleased to be one of the few companies selected by Operation Warp Speed, and that ours is the only oral vaccine being evaluated. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is primarily transmitted by viral particles that enter through the mucosa - nose, mouth or eyes - strongly suggesting that mucosal immunity could serve as the first line of defense," said Andrei Floroiu, Chief Executive Officer of Vaxart Inc. "In addition, our vaccine is a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage in large vaccination campaigns."
Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: COCP) provided back in May an update on the impact ofthe COVID-19 global pandemic on its preclinical and clinical development programs. "We have reprioritized development activities to accelerate the advancement of our preclinical COVID-19program, which we recently established as a result of our license agreements with Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSRF)," commented Dr. Gary Wilcox, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cocrystal. "Like many of our peers, we have been working to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations. While we have been able to mitigate some of the risks, the worldwide impact on supply chains has resulted in a delay to our fully owned influenza A virus program. The full impact of COVID-19 on our development programs remains uncertain, but our team is determined to advance preclinical and clinical development programs across our pipeline as quickly and efficiently as possible."
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