This week in drug discovery (28 June – 2 July)

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 28 June – 2 July

This week in news

The last year and a half has accelerated the virology scene at a pace that was previously unseen, and not exclusively for Covid-19. Vaccines continue to be an unquestionably important part of how we move through the world and with regards to drug development, and this week Megan Thomas has picked the news which showcases bold and important drug discovery taking place in this regard.

  1. Positive new data for J&J Covid vaccine against Delta variant

Johnson & Johnson has announced data that demonstrated its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine generated strong, persistent activity against the rapidly spreading Delta variant and other highly prevalent SARS-CoV-2 viral variants. In addition, the data showed that the durability of the immune response lasted through at least eight months, the length of time evaluated to date. The two preprint study summaries have been submitted to bioRxiv.

  1. Investigational malaria vaccine gives strong, lasting protection

Two US Phase I clinical trials of a novel candidate malaria vaccine have found that the regimen conferred unprecedentedly high levels of durable protection when volunteers were later exposed to disease-causing malaria parasites.

  1. Covid antibody levels vary according to vaccine type

Two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine induce lower levels of antibodies that are able to recognise and fight the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) than against other strains. These laboratory findings from the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) UCLH Biomedical Research Centre are published as a Research letter in The Lancet.

  1. Sanofi launches dedicated mRNA vaccines centre

Sanofi will invest approximately €400 million annually in a vaccines mRNA Centre of Excellence. The centre will work to accelerate the development and delivery of next-generation vaccines by bringing together approximately 400 dedicated employees integrating end-to-end mRNA vaccine capabilities with dedicated R&D, digital, and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) teams across sites at Cambridge, MA (US) and Marcy l’Etoile, Lyon (France).

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