COVID-19: Roundup 01 May

01 May 2020

01 May 

Here is our weekly roundup on the latest research and scientific efforts against the coronavirus.


Novacyt logo


Novacyt has been awarded a contract from the UK Department of Health and Social Care to supply its COVID-19 tests for an initial term of six months, beginning 4th May 2020.

Novacyt is committed to support the UK government’s five pillar plan to increase testing for the virus. As part of this plan, they will be supplying 288,000 tests per week for use in the NHS with potential to expand this supply. Read more here.

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Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson have announced a collaboration between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. They aim to increase the manufacturing of Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine candidate. The aim is to supply more than one billion doses of the vaccine globally.

Catalent, Inc. announced they will also be joining this collaboration to support the production of Johnson & Johnson’s investigational vaccine candidate. In July 2020, Catalent will hire around 300 employees at its facility in Bloomington, Indiana, US, to meet the manufacturing timelines. Read more here.



Clariant will be donating approximately 80 tons of disinfectant per month to the Swiss Federal Authorities to increase the supply of disinfectant in Switzerland during the covid-19 outbreak.

To achieve this output, Clariant is working closely with CropEnergies to secure ethanol, the main ingredient, as well as with Brenntag who will be producing the disinfectant using this raw material. Read more here.


Gilead Sciences Inc

Gilead has recently announced results from phase three SIMPLE trial examining 5-day and 10-day dosing durations of remdesivir in patients with covid-19.

The study suggests that patients receiving a 10-day treatment course achieved similar results to those taking a 5-day course. These results will help optimize treatment with remdesivir.

Furthermore, the results from this trial complement the data results from the placebo-controlled study of remdesivir conducted by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The results from this study suggested remdesivir has a positive effect in reducing recovery time. Read more here.

EIB logoCEPI logo

EU Bank supports development of vaccines

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed an advisory agreement to collaborate on the development of innovative financing schemes to support vaccine development across the world.

EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle said: ‘Vaccine development is vital in the fight against global infections, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

“We are pleased to join forces with CEPI to jointly identify vaccine initiatives and suitable funding solutions to get these projects off the ground.’

Read more here.

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Oxford BioDynamics Plc

Oxford BioDynamics’ EpiSwitch technology has been selected as the biomarker platform to help identify covid-19 patients at risk of severe disease and categorise them; patients that will benefit from therapeutic treatment and those that will progress to severe disease. 

Alexandre Akoulitchev, Chief Scientific Officer of Oxford BioDynamics, said;


We believe that our technology could provide the clinical specialist with an invaluable tool to recognise patients at risk and act in their best interests.’


Read more here.


Global leaders team up on Covid-19


On the 24th April, countries and health leaders from around the world agreed to join the UK in its pledge to ensure that access to successful coronavirus vaccines, treatments, and technologies would be made available to everyone. This new commitment, known as ‘COV-access agreement,’ aims to boost the global supply of a vaccine, once one has been approved, ensuring that the most vulnerable communities will receive the appropriate treatment to prevent a second wave of disease.

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, 'British expertise and funding is already leading efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine and treatments, which will save lives in the UK and around the world.’

Read more here.



AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced a new collaboration to enable global development and distribution of the University’s potential covid-19 vaccine. The potential vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group.

This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s expertise in vaccinology and Astrazeneca’s manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Together, they could have the capacity to rapidly scale up the manufacture of a coronavirus vaccine. Read more here.

Johnson Matthey

The teams at Johnson Matthey have started to produce parts for personal protective equipment and are working to set-up 3D printing to help the NHS. In addition to printing the frames for face visors, JM employees are working to print straps that serve as a fastening point for breathing masks, as well as hands-free-door-handles. Read more here.

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Keep up to date on the response from the chemical industry and the scientific community to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. SCI will be covering key coronavirus research and reporting news from trusted sources so that you have the coronavirus latest.


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