Antibody therapy for high-risk Covid-19 patients

USA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has added the Regeneron antibody drug cocktail (casirivimab and imdevimab) to its list of COVID-19 treatments, urging the manufacturer to lower its price and ensure equal access to the lifesaving treatment worldwide. WHO added that Regeneron, the patent holder should also share technology to allow for the manufacturing of biosimilar versions of the monoclonal antibody therapy. The guidelines published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), strongly recommend that patients at high risk of hospitalization or with severe disease should be given a combination…

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Medikabazaar secures US$75 million series C funding

INDIA – Healthtech startup Medikabazaar has announced a 75 million USD investment in a series C round led by PE fund CREAEGIS, the UK’s development finance institution CDC Group, and other existing investors. The round brought together existing investors, including Belgium-based Ackermans & van Haaren (AvH), HealthQuad Advisors, Japan-based Rebright Partners, Continental Europe-based Kois Holdings, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group. UK-based CDC Group is the largest investor in this round which infused Rs 131.3 crore followed by Creaegis Limited, CIF and HealthQuad Fund who invested Rs 106.8 crore, Rs 58.2…

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Novartis pushes further into gene therapy for the eye with deal for Swiss startup

SWITZERLAND – Novartis has bought a second biotech startup developing gene therapies for the eye, Arctos Medical, a small Swiss company spun out of the University of Bern. Arctos, which previously received financial backing from Novartis’ venture fund, specializes in optogenetics, a field of research which uses light to probe the behavior of neurons. Drawing on this science, Arctos is attempting to transform other types of retinal cells into photoreceptor-like cells by delivering a gene that encodes for a light-sensitive protein. Arctos, and now Novartis, envision this technology could be…

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India’s booming domestic pharma market expands 18%

INDIA – India’s domestic pharma market has registered a robust growth of nearly 18 percent. The country was hit by a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and moved swiftly to vaccinate a majority of its population. According to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), the 18 percent year-on-year revenue growth in India’s pharmaceutical market (IPM) in August was driven by improved sales in the non-covid product portfolio, while sales traction in the covid products remained stable. The COVID-19 influence portfolio contributed 37 percent to IPM for July 2021 moving…

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India reports over 30 thousand new Covid cases as positivity rate reaches lowest point

INDIA – In a sigh of relief, the Union Health Ministry has reported that the active COVID-19 infections have declined by 1,478 in the last 24 hours, bringing the active caseload to 31,923, the lowest in just over six months. With this, the total number of infections registered in the country has hit 33,594,803. The total number of deaths has risen to 446,368, with 282 new fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The active cases account for 0.90 percent of total infections,…

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Deadly African swine flu creeps into Tripura amid Covid-19 pandemic

INDIA – Despite the fact that the Northeast is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, fresh outbreaks of the African Swine Flu has been reported in the district of Tripura, where a large number of pigs have died in the government farm in Kachanpur. ` This deadly outbreak comes shortly after the swine flu ravished pigs in the neighboring Mizoram state. Mizoram has been battling both COVID-19 pandemic and African swine fever since March this year, which has so far killed 28,000 pigs in all the state’s 11 districts making the…

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India’s vaccine giant invests US $68 million to gain 3.9% stake in UK’s Oxford Biomedica

INDIA – The Serum Institute of India (SII) is set to invest more than US $68.2 million in Oxford Biomedica plc, a biotech group based in the United Kingdom, to fund construction of a facility that will manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. The British biotech firm has announced an investment from world’s largest Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine manufacturer by volume. The biotech company anticipates receiving an investment from SII of just over US $68 million, which will be used to fund the development of Oxbox, its 84,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Oxford.…

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WHO sets new standards on air pollution levels as well as an updated Mental Health Action plan

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines on air pollution which will dramatically reduce the levels of particulate matter (PM) and other pollutants linked to a range of diseases. These illnesses include heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and respiratory diseases including asthma. “Since WHO’s last 2005 global update, there has been a marked increase of evidence that shows how air pollution affects different aspects of health,” said the global health body. Air pollution is implicated in some 7 million premature deaths each year, more than 90% of…

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EU launches new authority to prepare for future health crisis

BELGIUM – The European Union has set up a new authority to prevent and rapidly respond to health emergencies based on the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. About 30 billion euros ($35.3 billion) has been commissioned to the body, which is expected to coordinate expenditure in preparation for a future pandemic. The health crisis body dubbed, “The European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority” (HERA), will detect health crises and other potential threats for the healthcare system by gathering information and developing forecasts. If a new health crisis struck,…

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Older and high-risk populations can now receive Pfizer vaccine booster dose, FDA says

USA – People above 65 years and adults at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection are now eligible to receive Pfizer/BioNTech’s booster dose vaccine, following emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The decision paves the way for millions of people who received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago to receive booster shots as soon as they can. This emergency use authorization was based on the totality of scientific evidence shared by the companies and reviewed by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related…

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