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Pharmafile.com's top 10 news stories of the week

Published on 12/02/21 at 01:27pm

Over the past week, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 jab has been at the centre of disputes about vaccine efficiency both in older people, and against the new coronavirus variants that emerged last year.

South Africa has halted roll-out of the company’s jab due to concerns about its efficacy against new strains, and numerous European countries have recommended against its use in older age groups – despite the WHO insisting the jab is effective in both areas, and should be administered to all adults.

1. WHO backs AstraZeneca vaccine against South African variant – Published 09/02/21

World health officials have moved to ease concerns over the efficacy of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine against new variants of COVID-19.

2. Merck, Pfizer, and 4D pharma join forces for bladder cancer clinical trial   Published 08/02/21

A clinical trial collaboration between 4D pharma, Merck, and Pfizer to treat locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC), also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), has been announced today

3. Pfizer withdraws application for emergency vaccine authorisation in India  Published 05/02/21

Pfizer has withdrawn its application in India for emergency use authorisation of its vaccine, which it has produced with German biotechnology company BioNTech.

3. Galapagos and Gilead halt Phase III trials for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis drug – Published 11/02/21

Galapagos and Gilead have halted the ISABELA Phase III clinical studies for their autotaxin inhibitor ziritaxestat in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

4. Janssen's esketamine nasal spray gets Europe approval for new indication – Published on 09/02/21

The European Commission (EC) has authorised the expanded use of Janssen’s Spravato (esketamine nasal spray), co-administered with oral antidepressant therapy in adults with a moderate to severe episode of major depressive disorder (MDD), as acute short-term treatment for the rapid reduction of depressive symptoms which, according to clinical judgement, constitute a psychiatric emergency.

5. AbbVie's rheumatoid arthritis drug Rinvoq approved for NHS Scotland – Published 09/02/21

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug Rinvoq (upadacitinib) for use on the NHS in Scotland.

6. South Africa halts rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine amid efficacy concerns – Published on 08/02/21

AstraZeneca is racing to adapt its COVID-19 vaccine as new data suggests it offers little protection against the more dominant variant identified in South Africa.

7. WHO panel recommends AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for over-65s – Published on 11/02/21

Scientists advising the WHO have recommended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in all adults, including those aged over 65.

8. Accure Therapeutics' drug candidate can slow epilepsy progression, study shows – Published on 10/02/21

Accure Therapeutics, an R&D pharmaceutical company in the central nervous system (CNS) field, has announced the publication of a pivotal preclinical efficacy study showing that its new drug candidate ACT-03 (formerly IPR-179) is the first candidate able to slow the progression of epilepsy.

9. South Korea approves Celltrion's COVID-19 treatment Regdanvimab for emergency use – Published on 08/02/21

The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has granted a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) for the emergency use of Celltrion’s Regdanvimab (CT-P59), a monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatment candidate.

10. New Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 mutations could be available by October – Published on 05/02/21

Oxford University and AstraZeneca could release a new vaccine by October in order to counter the new mutations of COVID-19 that have arisen in the UK recently.

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