Keeping tabs on Covid-19: New drug updates from the FDA, free tools to combat diabetes at home and knowing the right mask to combat spread

Pharma IQ provides a weekly round-up on everything new on Covid-19

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Long before the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, pharma companies have been ramping up their operations, and utilizing knowledge gained from similar viruses in the past to aid in their research to find a vaccine. Some are looking at compounds formerly tested against viral pathogens such as Ebola and HIV, while others are offering new tech solutions that could combat the spread of coronavirus.

Each week, Pharma IQ will present a round-up of updates on research, treatment options and innovative solutions coming out of the industry as it plays a vital role in fighting the pandemic.

Sensyne Health boosts NHS impact and to help keep pregnant women with diabetes safe at home

AI tech company Sensyne Health has made GDm-Health™ digital, a remote monitoring system for the management of diabetes in pregnancy, available free-of-charge across NHS England in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lord Paul Drayson, CEO of Sensyne Health, said, “In light of the UK government’s guidelines around ‘social distancing’ to combat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there is now a greater focus than ever before on the use of remote patient monitoring to reduce the burden on limited NHS resources and help high-risk people stay at home.”

According to the company, the device will give clinicians the opportunity to review changes in symptoms in real time and reduce the cost of what was traditionally a time-consuming method.

The wireless device connects to a smartphone application which monitors glucose levels in the blood of the patient. Using algorithms the device prioritizes patients in need and communicates this information directly to the hospital care teams. Sensyne Health said, this will help improve patient outcomes by keeping high-risk groups safe at home without putting them at unnecessary risk for regular check-ups.

FDA investigates effectiveness of malaria pills and other antiviral drugs to treat Covid-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working closely with other government agencies to investigate the effectiveness of chloroquine and remdesivir to treat patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 symptoms and help prevent further spread of the disease.

Last month, Denis Hinton, Chief Scientist at the FDA, wrote a letter authorizing the emergency use of chloroquine, an approved drug to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to treat Covid-19, while the National Institutes of Health began a randomized controlled trial with remdesivir, an antiviral drug developed to treat Ebola, under the FDA’s investigational new drug requirements.

While there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to currently treat, cure or prevent Covid-19, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, said, “We must ensure these products are effective… [we must also] engage with domestic manufacturers to ramp-up production of products to mitigate any potential supply-chain pressures. If clinical data suggests products may be promising in treating Covid-19, we know there will be increased demand for it.”

The FDA has said it will continue working with innovators to expedite efforts, including leveraging scientific information about the virus and trials currently being conducted in countries including China, Japan, South Korea and Italy.

Cloud-based CTMS supports Covid-19 trials to bring treatments to market faster

Pharmaseal International, a UK-based provider of clinical trials management systems (CTMS), offered life science organizations the opportunity to use its Engility solution free-of-charge to help support moves to bring treatments for Covid-19 to market faster.

The cloud-based solution helps biopharmaceutical organizations and academic institutions manage and centralize their clinical trial lifecycles, regulatory documentation and remote workforce processes.

Daljit Cheema, CEO at Pharmaseal, said, “The team are committed to supporting global life science businesses to improve patients’ lives and would like to further extend this commitment and support during this pandemic to bring treatments to market faster.”

The company claimed, Engibility CTMS facilitates accelerated innovation by delivering new product updates through an intelligent software platform and can adapt to meet the needs of all organizations.

Clinova provides clarity on mask types to minimize risk of contracting Covid-19

In efforts to combat misinformation on mask types, Arsalan Karim, Director of Research and Development at Clinova, makers of the Covaflu Flu Respirator mask, stated, “There’s a lot of talk about different kinds of protective masks, and which one is best.

“While surgical masks protect against infectious agents transmitted by droplets, they do not protect against airborne infectious agents such as viruses, so they will not prevent the wearer from being potentially infected by Covid-19.

“However, the respirator face mask, which protects the wearer from aqueous and oily aerosols, smoke and fine dust, is also more effective at protecting against airborne infectious agents such as Covid-19 and SARS. Respirator masks prevent viruses from entering the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth and nostrils.”

While respiratory masks do not offer wearers 100 per cent protection, Clinova claims the masks will support the efforts of global national health services to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

To take a deeper dive into the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and understand the decisions the pharma industry are taking now to prepare for more resilient supply chains in the future, secure your place at our upcoming expert roundtable in April with Richard Ettl, CEO at SkyCell. Ettl will discuss how to transport pharma goods quickly and safely to patients and tackle the challenges presented by an unprecedented and ever-changing crisis. Sign up now to uncover solutions to shape the future of your supply chain.