This week in drug discovery (6-10 December) 

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 6-10 December 

In the wake of the discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant globally, DDW’s Megan Thomas rounds up five news stories which show the strides being made to understand and fight this variant across the drug discovery industry. 

1. FDA authorises Eli Lilly Covid therapy for under-12s  

Paediatric patients from birth to 12 years old can now be treated with an antibody drug for Covid-19. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for bamlanivimab and etesevimab to be administered together in high-risk paediatric patients for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 as well as post-exposure prophylaxis. 

2. Sino Biological launches panel of research reagents for Omicron variant 

Sino Biological has launched a panel of research reagents for the newly identified Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

3. First plant-based Covid-19 vaccine promising says Medicago and GSK 

Results from the Phase III placebo-controlled efficacy study of Medicago’s plant-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate in combination with GlaxoSmithKline’s pandemic adjuvant have shown positive results. 

4. Can llama antibodies help develop a Covid-19 therapy? 

Amid the growing threat of a new and potentially more dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variant, scientists are ramping up the quest for Covid treatments. A recent study demonstrates the therapeutic potential of an unusual class of immune proteins: miniature antibodies called nanobodies, derived from llamas. 

5. Can this chewing gum reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission? 

According to a new study, scientists have found chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein serves as a “trap” for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially tamping down transmission. 

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