Keeping tabs on Covid-19: Sustainable facemask that repel viral bacteria designed, test to neutralize Covid-19 antibodies begin and big pharma partnership aims to accelerate vaccine production

Pharma IQ’s weekly overview returns with a round up on some of the most innovative manufacturing processes and operations to combat Covid-19

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As the research for a safe and effective vaccine continues, we have seen some clinicians rely on serums collected from recovering patients who have been treated for Covid-19, while others are looking at new therapeutic avenues to neutralize symptoms.

In this week’s round up, we look at how one textile manufacturing company has engineered a sustainable method to infuse textiles with a viral repellant to create facemasks and learn how big pharma organizations are teaming up to speed up vaccine manufacturing.

Israeli start up designs pathogen fabric mask to combat Covid-19

Sonovia, an Israeli start up, has designed SonoMask, a cotton-polyester facemask infused with zinc oxide nanoparticles known to destroy bacteria and fungi.

Sonovia claimed that the metallic nanoparticles that sit at the core of the company’s fabric coating technology could act as an effective shield against Covid-19. The company has released early-stage data presenting the fabrics virucidal effectiveness for enveloped viruses. The company is continuing to standardize the masks for commercialization.

Hoping to enforce a sustainable message across the textile industry, Sonovia also ensures its novel coating method infuses textiles with safe and effective formulations, making the reusable and washable masks potent for up to 100 washes at 70°C (158°F).

Sonovia said it also hoped to create a full arsenal of protective equipment for healthcare workers by partnering with manufacturers around world to develop reusable and anti-viral respirators and hazard suits.

Life sciences company launches neutralizing antibody test to assist in the development of Covid-19 vaccines

LabCorp announced the launch of a new test that can be used to assess the capacity of antibodies in patient plasma to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The life sciences firm claimed the information from the test could be used in the development of Covid-19 vaccines and the screening of convalescent plasma for prophylactic and therapeutic use. This neutralizing antibody test will only be available to biopharmaceutical companies, hospitals, blood banks and other plasma-screening facilities.

Paul Kirchgraber, MD, Chief Executive Officer of LabCorp’s Drug Development business, said: “The launch of this neutralizing antibody assay is the latest effort in our company’s commitment to accelerate the evaluation of vaccine candidates so that a successful candidate may reach patients sooner.

“The test is based on a proven and trusted platform developed by our scientists that has been used for decades in the evaluation of vaccine candidates designed to prevent other viral infections, including HIV, Ebola virus, influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus.”

Big pharma partnership for fill-finish manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine candidate

Moderna, a clinical stage biotechnology company, and Catalent, a provider of advanced delivery technologies, development and manufacturing solutions, have announced a collaboration for large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing of Moderna’s mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate at Catalent’s biologics facility in Bloomington, Indiana.

As part of the agreement, Catalent will provide vial filling and packaging capacity, as well as additional staffing to support 24/7 manufacturing operations to push an initial 100 million doses of the vaccine candidate to the US supply market by the 3Q20.

The companies are also in discussions to secure fill-finish capacity for continued production of hundreds of millions of additional doses.

Juan Andres, Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer at Moderna, said: “We appreciate this collaboration with Catalent and the flexibility of their team to deliver critical fill-finish capacity for Moderna’s mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate at unprecedented speed. It has been wonderful to see both teams working together to support the common good.”

John Chiminski, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Catalent, added: “Catalent is proud to partner with Moderna in its work to address this critical public health need. Catalent’s proven expertise in manufacturing scale-up and commercial production are well suited to support Moderna’s efforts to prepare for wide-scale supply of this vaccine candidate so that it is available if appropriate to address the pandemic.”

For solutions on how large pharma companies are collaborating with their peers to overcome industry challenges, join Pharma IQ’s webinar on July 15 to learn how pharmaceutical companies and biotechs can accelerate translational medicine with virtualized search and analytics. Register now to receive insights from industry experts on how to get tangible business answers out of your data using the scientists you already have, instead of requiring highly specialized data scientists to connect data and run analyses.