Keeping tabs on Covid-19: App aims to tackle fake news on healthcare, free content hub launched for researchers and new clinical trial initiative established

Pharma IQ’s weekly overview returns with the most innovative tools and clinical trial treatments to combat Covid-19 as the pharma industry continues the race to develop a vaccine

It is imperative for the pharma industry to tackle misinformation about healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, so that people are not influenced into changing their behaviors and attitudes toward protecting themselves and others against the virus.

In this week’s regular industry update, Pharma IQ looks at tools and solutions from around the world that are combating fake news on healthcare, providing researchers and healthcare professionals with access to the most up-to-date studies and enabling government initiatives to stem the pandemic.

Covid-19 app tackles misinformation on healthcare available to patients online

Healthcare technology firm Cognitant Group has launched a verified Covid-19 app called Healthinote to combat fake news about healthcare and provide patients with access to credible, usable and verified healthcare information.

Cognitant Group partnered with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and other global pharmaceutical companies to ensure the content is trustworthy, up-to-date and verified. The app features more than 1,100 health ‘A-Z’ articles from the UK’s NHS official website and leading universities.

Dr Tim Ringrose, CEO of Cognitant Group, commented: “It’s vital for everyone to have access to trustworthy, up-to-date and verified health and medical information.

“We built Healthinote to improve the way patients receive their health information and to combat misinformation found online, in the media, and from friends and family. Thanks to our key partners, the content and programs offered on the platform will help us all to receive information we can rely on to protect and manage our health.”

As well as text information from the NHS, the platform features immersive 3D and virtual reality content to help patients visually understand their symptoms, health conditions and treatments. The app will also feature an integrated sharing function that will allow users to share relevant health information with each other.

In a statement, Cognitant Group said: “Healthcare professionals can recommend content to their patients at the point of care, giving them the confidence that the information is trusted and relevant.”

Research hub offers scientific community access to free content to accelerate efforts to find a cure for coronavirus

Information analytics company Elsevier has created The Elsevier Coronavirus Research Hub offering biomedical and scientific researcher’s access to free resources, tools and content to help them accelerate in their efforts to address the current coronavirus pandemic.

The research hub includes free access to a biomedical database, scientific and clinical content, Covid-19-specific datasets, a biomedically-focused text mining solution and several research collaboration tools. Elsevier claimed that the hub would add more features and solutions soon.

Cameron Ross, MD of life sciences solutions at Elsevier, remarked: “Researchers all over the world are working hard to repurpose existing drugs in order to rapidly develop vaccines and therapies. During this emergency, we want to do all we can to make sure that researchers have the tools and content they need to enable discoveries that stem this global pandemic.”

In addition to Elsevier’s research hub, the company has also created another resource center for health communities and patients to freely access articles that relate specifically to coronavirus, SARS and MERS. The company claims this resource center is an additional toolkit for clinicians and patients to access expert insights, research studies, updated Covid-19 guidelines and frequently asked questions on symptoms.

Oral inhibitor fast-tracked through UK government clinical trial initiative to treat Covid-19

BerGenBio, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has announced Bemcentinib, a once-a-day, oral, highly selective and potent inhibitor of AXL kinase, as the first potential treatment to be fast-tracked in a new randomized phase two clinical trial initiative to treat vulnerable patients with Covid-19 symptoms.

The Accelerating Covid-19 Research and Development (ACCORD) platform is a clinical trial study funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and UK Research and Innovation to assess the efficacy and safety of multiple candidate agents – of which Bemcentinib is the first – to treat patients hospitalized in the UK with Covid-19.

Bemcentinib has previously demonstrated a key role in cancer treatment, preventing immune evasion, drug resistance and metastasis in a variety of cancer trials. BerGenBio claimed the drug has shown to be safe and well-tolerated in hundreds of patients and in many cases taken daily for several years.

Richard Godfrey, chief executive officer at BerGenBio, commented: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative which is a ground-breaking partnership between government, academia and industry. 

“We are hopeful that Bemcentinib can play a significant role in the global effort to find suitable treatment options for Covid-19 patients, which has had such serious implications for so many people, easing pressure on hospital intensive care units and ultimately treating thousands of patients. We are poised to commence dosing in the coming days and will provide results as soon as is practically possible.”

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Currently no drugs in the world have been clinically proven to treat Covid-19. But our Therapeutics Taskforce has identified a number of promising candidates. Currently, six different treatments have been entered into national clinical trials and the first is ready to enter the next stage: a new early phase clinical trial platform that we launched on April 28.”

In other news, Dennis Della Corte, Vice-President of Business Development at ZONTAL will be sharing his expertise on how to maximize business benefits using the digitalization pyramid model in a free Pharma IQ webinar. Della Corte will dive into how to align individual stakeholders’ interests with managerial business targets, achieve these business objectives through execution and enable business through the adoption of new technology platforms. Sign up to secure your seat

Also, the Pharma IQ report, in collaboration with Dotmatics, looks to break down the barriers to the lab of the future as scientists attempt to turn the tide against a deluge of data and utilize intelligent lab systems. Download this report to enhance collaboration efforts with external research partners and improve productivity workflows in the lab.