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KAPI Weekly Brief: 8TH – 12TH MARCH 2021

12th March 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • After several deaths from clotting, health authorities have stressed there’s no indication of a link to vaccination. Still, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia and Italy, as well as non-EU Norway and Iceland, have all suspended the rollout of at least some Oxford/AstraZeneca batches as a precautionary measure. (Politico)
  • Novavax reported Thursday that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 96 percent effective in preventing mild and severe illness. The results are from the company’s Phase 3 clinical trial, which was conducted in the U.K. Novavax’s trials in the U.S. and South Africa continue, and the company cannot apply for emergency use authorization in the U.S. until the American trials are complete. (NBC News)
  • Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE will exceed their original global production target for COVID-19 vaccines by as much as 20% this year, as they ramp up production a year into the global pandemic, Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Thursday. (Reuters)
  • Europe’s vaccination push was dealt another severe blow when Brussels warned supplies from AstraZeneca threatened to fall short in the first quarter and hopes faded that the US would provide extra jabs. (Financial Times)
  • Sanofi will start human trials for the second Covid-19 vaccine it has in development as it races to try to catch up with rival groups that have beaten it to market during the pandemic. French group has fallen behind newcomers despite being one of the biggest jab makers in world. (Financial Times)
  • Europe’s drug regulator said on Thursday it had initiated a rolling review of U.S.-based Eli Lilly’s antibodies to treat COVID-19, days after saying their combination could be used in patients at high risk of progressing to severe illness. (Reuters)
  • In response to calls for a waiver of TRIPS for COVID-19 vaccines, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager Anna Marriott referred to it as massive missed opportunity to speed up and scale up the production of lifesaving vaccines worldwide. (Oxfam)
  • In response to the WTO TRIPS discussions, MSF said that the continued delays on the waiver negotiations are considered disappointing for global public health. (MSF)
  • The UN on Thursday launched a new global campaign, Only Together, aiming to advance fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed highlighted that “an unprecedented global scientific effort for vaccines has given us hope to defeat the virus,” Ms Mohammed stressed that new momentum and hope will emerge “only if we work together to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines. Only together can we end the pandemic and transform a new era of hope.” (UN)
  • Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC, said Thursday that the continent must develop its capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines, considering that at least five African countries appear to have the capacity to produce vaccines, citing South Africa, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. A meeting is planned for April 12 between the African Union and external partners to create a “roadmap” for boosting African capacity to eventually produce COVID-19 vaccines, Nkengasong said. (AP)
  • During the final day of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC), a session convened by IAPO and IFPMA saw experts gathering to discuss the prospects for near-term ratification of the African Union treaty to create an African Medicines Agency (AMA), a single centralizing regulatory body for pharmaceuticals in Africa. The creation of the AMA was approved two years ago at the 32nd African Union Assembly, but the start of its operations has fallen victim to slow bureaucratic. As of today, the treaty has been signed by 19 countries but only ratified by 8 out of a required 15 countries. During the online session, experts emphasized the critical role a body like AMA could play in helping pave the way for more efficient bulk procurement of medicines and vaccines, while also assisting in the “identification, prevention, detection and response strategies” in delivering quality medication across Africa. (Health Policy Watch)
  • Kenya is yet to ratify the African Medicines Agency Treaty (AMA) – but a senior official in the Ministry of Health has said that the move should come soon. The AMA could pave the way for more efficient bulk procurement of medicines and vaccines, through the African Union or regional blocs of countries, as well as more local production. “AMA is critical now more than ever and ties into the WHO’s Patient Safety Plan directly,” observed Oksana Pyzik, Global Engagement Lead and founder of the University College London Fight the Fakes initiative. (Health Policy Watch)
  • The ICC released new guidelines called ICC Innovation Principles for Policymakers “Creating and nurturing innovation ecosystems” to highlight that a supportive policy environment is necessary to create and nurture innovation ecosystems, and to build the confidence necessary for investments in innovative activity. It provides 4 principles to guide policymakers in creating policy frameworks that enable the emergence of productive, resilient, and sustainable innovation ecosystems. These guidelines are building investor confidence in a trustworthy business environment, promoting education and training for a robust innovation ecosystem, encouraging open trade and investment, and ensuring intellectual property systems incentivize both innovation and dissemination. (ICC)
  • During the Global COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain & Manufacturing Summit convened by Chatham House, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to do more to ramp up production in emerging markets and developing countries to combat the vaccine supply shortage that is excluding many lower-income nations from access. Okonjo-Iweala also said that pandemic-related export restrictions had fallen in recent months, urging countries to drop or reduce the remaining ones or set timelines for their phase-out to help minimize problems in the vaccine supply chain. (WTO)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 1ST – 5TH MARCH 2021

7th March 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • Novartis commits to support CureVac in manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine with an aim at accelerating production of vaccine shots. CureVac reported that the vaccine is in late-stage testing and results could be out as soon as next month. (Wall Street Journal |thepharmaletter | Novartis)
  • Researchers show potential benefits of delaying second mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose. The second dose of the mRNA vaccine was tested 3 weeks from the first dose. In this study, the researchers created a model to investigate how population immunity would be affected if people delayed their second dose by 6 weeks, 3 months, or 6 months. (News Medical)
  • The South African COVID-19 variant seems to be dodging neutralizing therapies. A laboratory-developed pseudovirus containing the mutations found in the SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 variant (first detected in South Africa) was resistant to neutralization when exposed to three types of COVID-19 therapeutic antibodies or convalescent plasma. (Medical Xpress)
  • Ivermectin, a controversial anti-parasitic drug that has been touted as a potential Covid-19 treatment, does not speed recovery in people with mild cases of the disease, according to a randomized controlled trial published on Thursday in the journal JAMA. (New York Times)
  • WHO DG Dr Tedros in his opening remarks at Financing COVID-19 Vaccines for Africa – A whole-of-Africa approach to addressing vaccine access, delivery and uptake underscored the fact that the continent’s regional solidarity has been a vital part of the pandemic response. He further spoke to fostering closer working relationship between COVAX and African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to ensure a rapid scale-up and distribution of vaccines in Africa. (WHO)
  • Gout medication colchicine will be tested in a large UK study looking into potential early-stage COVID-19 treatments and enrollment criteria was widened for the latest arm of the trial, University of Oxford researchers said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
  • Following the arrival of over 800 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Sudan became the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to receive COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Facility. (WHO EMRO)
  • The CEO of the Serum Institute of India, told a World Bank panel on Thursday that a US law blocking the export of certain key items, including bags and filters, will likely cause serious bottlenecks in the effort towards building capacity worldwide. (Bloomberg)
  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the lending arm of the World Bank, has issued a $100 million 5-year bond which both supports IBRD’s ongoing sustainable development and COVID-19 activities and adds a new feature to support similar efforts by UNICEF. The issuance will channel an amount equivalent to half of the total proceeds, $50 million, to UNICEF. This frontloading of financing to UNICEF will support its pandemic response programs for children around the world over the 5-year period. (World Bank)
  • South African authorities have seized about 2,400 doses of fake COVID-19 vaccines and masks coming from China following a global alert issued by INTERPOL warning vaccines would be a prime target for criminal networks. The trafficking case is the first confirmed instance of fake vaccines being smuggled across continents, and though there are likely more that have occurred, and more still that may be uncovered in the future. Interpol first issued a warning about such the potential for such crimes in early December, alerting law enforcement agents in its 194 member countries that criminal networks were trying to “infiltrate and disrupt supply chains” involved in the global rollout of vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. (Time |Interpol)
  • The WHO estimates that 100,000 people across the continent die every year from taking falsified or sub-standard medication. Individual countries in Africa have been taking steps to address the issue that has been exacerbated by the lack of legislation and weak healthcare systems. Now, seven African countries have come together in mid-January to form the Lomé Initiative seeking to tackle this problem, by committing to strengthen their international cooperation and enact national laws to criminalize the import, manufacture, distribution, and sale of fake medicines. The participating countries are the Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. (UN)
  • On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson and MSD (known as Merck in the USA and Canada) announced an agreement in which the latter will support J&J in producing it’s COVID-19 vaccine, which recently received US FDA EUA. US President Biden hailed the development as an example of industry coming together for the common good as he pushes towards having enough vaccines available for every US adult by the end of May. The deal with MSD is focused on gearing up production for the second half of the year, said Biden administration officials, when booster shots are expected to need speedy manufacturing due to the looming threat of SARS-CoV-2 variants and supply needs in LMICs. (Washington Post)
  • The first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa using COVAX doses began 1 March in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. These campaigns are among the first to use doses provided by the COVAX Facility’s Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). (GAVI)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 22ND – 26TH FEBRUARY 2021

26th February 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • Pfizer and BioNTech initiate new study to test a third dose of their vaccine against the emerging variant of COVID-19 virus. (Business Insider)
  • CureVac chief Franz-Werner Haas said on Thursday that preliminary trials on animals of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate show it is effective against the UK and South African variants. (Reuters)
  • The African Union is backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines to speed up their rollout to poor countries, the head of its disease control body said on Thursday. (Reuters)
  • Merck & Co said on Thursday that U.S. regulators have asked for additional data beyond the Phase III study already conducted in order to support potential emergency use authorization of its experimental COVID-19 drug MK-7110. (Reuters)
  • MSF calls on J&J to send its first shipments to COVAX for LMICs post-approval, rather than high-income countries. (MSF)
  • Moderna on Wednesday said it’s now on track to produce 700 million vaccine doses this year, and it’s still aiming for 1 billion at the high end. And for 2022, the biotech is planning for 1.4 billion doses—or perhaps even 2 billion, depending on the dose required for booster shots targeting new variants. (Fierce Pharma)
  • The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the largest to date assessing the effectiveness of the vaccine, comparing all illness, severe illness, and hospitalizations as well as deaths between 600,000 pairs of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. (STAT News)
  • AstraZeneca has said it will be able to meet a target to deliver 180 million COVID-19 vaccines to the EU in the second quarter, by topping up the supply from its global production network. (Pharmaphorum)
  • While WTO members were unable to reach a decision on the proposal, delegations stressed the common goal of providing timely and secure access to high-quality and affordable vaccines and medicines for all. (WTO)
  • A flight carrying 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India landed in Ghana’s capital Accra, making it the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. (UNICEF)
  • The campaign will feature a series of pledging moments and global events to unite world leaders, artists, philanthropists and CEOs to achieve the campaign’s goals: Ending COVID-19 for All, End the Hunger Crisis, Resume Learning Everywhere, Protect the Planet, Advance Equity for All. (Global Citizen)
  • Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are restarting clinical development of their COVID-19 vaccine, which was delayed after hitting a snag late last year. In December interim phase 1/2 trial results showed the vaccine produced a lower immune response in older adults. (Pharmaphorum)
  • WHO has released a no-fault compensation plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to get COVID-19 vaccines delivered via the COVAX sharing scheme. (WHO)
  • AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine is more effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, instead of six weeks, a peer-reviewed study published in The Lancet medical journal showed on Friday. (Reuters)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 15TH – 19TH FEBRUARY 2021

19th February 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • Novavax committed additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX for distribution to low and middle income countries bringing the total tally to 1.1B doses. (Endpoint News)
  • The USA plans to contribute $4 billion to COVAX in efforts to support vaccination in low income countries but has plans to control shipping of locally manufactured vaccines until the nation’s demands are met. (Bloomberg)
  • Pfizer Inc. plans to roll out a clinical trial for a booster to its vaccine shot in South Africa in response to the spreading more contagious variant. (Reuters). This follows laboratory studies that showed the S. African variant could reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Reuters)
  • Two Canadian researchers have urge for delay in administration of the second shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which should be administered three to four weeks after the first one in efforts to extend supply to more people. (BioSpace)
  • Pfizer plans to roll out clinical trials of its vaccine in pregnant women in efforts to get data for improved care and protection for this sub-population in response to COVID-19. (NBC News)
  • The European Union launched the “HERA Incubator” as a blueprint for long-term health emergencies and a way to stop COVID-19 mutations. The incubator is set to receive €30 million from Horizon 2020. (Open Access Government)
  • The US National Institute for Health has reported that a new study, IMPAACT 2032, will analyze remdesivir in pregnant women to whom it has been prescribed for management of COVID-19 (Clinical Trials Arena)
  • WHO seeks $1.96 billion for the 2021 Strategic Plan for COVID-19 response following last year’s initial plan that outlined the path that countries should take to suppress transmission of the new coronavirus. (UN)
  • Africa is getting ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as reported by WHO African Regional representative Dr Moeti (WHO Africa)
  • MSF calls on wealthy nations & biopharmaceutical companies for immediate and equitable distribution of affordable and the right COVID-19 vaccines to Southern African countries. (MSF)
  • A new study looks at the probable benefit of probiotics in the management of COVID-19 given the emergence of new variants & broad spectrum of clinical disease witnessed with COVID-19. (News Medical)
  • Johnson & Johnson filed for approval of its vaccine in EU with decision probable by the middle of March according to drug regulators (Medical Xpress)
  • A research team have developed a machine learning solution aimed at identifying probable treatments for COVID-19 from those already in the market based on the disease profile and aging. (Health Europa)
  • The WHO approved AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use (Wall Street Journal)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) appoints Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the Organizations 7th Director General (WTO)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 8TH – 12TH FEBRUARY 2021

12th February 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • A preliminary study in South Africa by University of Oxford and University of Witwatersrand have indicated inability of AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccine to protect against mild and moderate forms of the new variant of the disease prevalent in South Africa. (The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times). On the backdrop of this, AstraZeneca and Oxford University have ventured into developing a new and improved vaccine with efficacy against the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa (Telegraph). The South African government now plans to give health workers the J&J vaccine instead (ABC News). This emerging evidence poses a challenge to other African countries on whether to use the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine as well (Financial Times).
  • The WHO have advised use of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine on all adults above 18years of age (Financial Times | UN News).
  • In efforts to boost EU COVID-19 Vaccine supplies, BioNTech reported having started production in their new facility in Germany (Medical Xpress)
  • Single dose of Pfizer vaccine shows signs of success in the UK which may make it feasible to extend gap between doses in a vaccination schedule (Financial Times)
  • Calling for an end to vaccine nationalism UNICEF Executive Director and WHO Director General urged governments to promote equitable access arguing that in this pandemic we have an option to win together or lose together. (WHO)
  • AstraZeneca plans to double up on their vaccine production to cover for shortfalls in supply that were witnessed at the start of the year. This was highlighted in the review of financial position for the previous year. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Generic inhaled corticosteroid budesonide shows promise in treatment of COVID-19 in a small scale clinical trial (Pharma Phorum | Reuters)
  • There is a rising mortality as Africa marks one year since outbreak of COVID-19 on the backdrop of a surge in variants. (WHO African Region)
  • Dermapharm aims to start producing Pfizer vaccines at a second site in efforts to aid the drug maker meet its target of 2 billion doses by the end of the year. (Reuters)
  • Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody combination gets FDA emergency authorization (Bloomberg)
  • Experts state that COVID-19 unlikely to have come from a lab following preliminary investigations (UN News)
  • Sinovac reports that their COVID-19 vaccine showed positive results in preventing hospitalization and death from two studies conducted in Brazil and Turkey (Reuters)
  • Pfizer vaccine effective against UK and South Africa variants of COVID-19 ( AA Com)
  • Moderna vaccine effective against new variants of the virus (News Medical Life Sciences)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 1ST – 5TH FEBRUARY 2021

5th February 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • COVAX Publishes first interim distribution forecast for COVID-19 Vaccines aimed at providing governments and health systems with the information they need to plan their national vaccination programmes. (GAVI| COVAX| Reuters |COVAX Supply Forecast)
  • AstraZeneca and Oxford University expect to have new generation vaccine against COVID-19 variants by autumn this year. (Reuters)
  • The African Union urges for equitable vaccine access and debt relief for member countries. (CGTN)
  • Mike Bloomberg and Dr. Tedros Adhanom call for global focus on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) to save lives from COVID-19. This came after confirmation of Bloomberg as the WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries for the third term.(Mirage News)
  • The World Cancer Declaration: time to consolidate wins and work towards 2025. (Lancet Oncology)
  • The biopharmaceutical industry supports the establishment of African Medicines Agency (AMA) and calls on governments to ratify the AMA Treaty towards a unified continental regulatory framework. (IFPMA)
  • GSK and CureVac to start working on a next generation vaccine targeting emerging variants of the coronavirus with likelihood of being ready next year. (PharmaPhorum)
  • A new trial testing whether giving people two different COVID vaccines as first and second doses can give effective protection as using the same formulation has started. (CITYA.M)
  • A study shows that the Pfizer vaccine single shot is 90% effective after 21 days. (Medical Express)
  • Ebonyi State, South East Nigeria launched a pharmaceutical manufacturing park “Pharmacity” aimed at being the hub of quality medicine production in the whole of West Africa. (Pharma News)
  • Johnson & Johnson applies to the US FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for their vaccine which was reported to have a 66% efficacy in international clinical trials (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Africa expects to start receiving millions of vaccine doses from COVAX in February as reported by the WHO Africa Regional Office Director. (WHO |CGTN)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 25TH TO 29TH JANUARY 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker has applied to local authorities to conduct small domestic trials of Novavax Inc’s. COVID-19 Vaccine found to be 89.3% effective in UK trial. (Reuters |The Guardian)
  • The Lancet Commission on COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics Task Force Members calls for structured investment in COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics for low and middle income countries. (The Lancet)
  • World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) signs a strategic collaborative agreement to support scaling up of healthcare innovations in low and middle income countries (Health Europa)
  • Policies geared towards reduction of fomite disinfection to recommended levels are critical in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is acknowledging potential transfer of resistance from bacterial pathogens especially on the backdrop of widespread disinfection and use of alcohol based hand sanitizers to contain spread of COVID-19. (Science)
  • Vaccines prevented 37 million deaths in the last 20years in LMIC and are projected to save 32 million more lives by 2030. This is why we must invest in vaccination programmes. (Mirage News)
  • WHO announces updated definitions for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) to help precisely define patients who need complex treatment regimens, lead to better surveillance, reporting and monitoring of drug-resistant TB. (WHO)
  • Pfizer vaccine found to be only less effective against the South African variant of COVID-19 virus. (Telegraph)
  • Eli Lilly teams up with GSK and Vir biotech for COVID-19 antibody test. (FIERCE Biotech)
  • South Africa allows use of parasitic drug ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19 among patients on compassionate grounds for a controlled access programme. (Bloomberg)
  • The Global Fund needs additional funding to continue supporting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programs in the countries where it invests. After deploying all available COVID-19 funds, nearly $1 billion in total, most of it to sub-Saharan African countries, it has run out of funding. Without this support, implementer countries risk facing significant disruptions to their three disease programs while COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Aidspan)
  • Overcoming neglect and finding ways to manage and control NTDs is a priority. (MSF)
  • The African Union has secured an additional 400million vaccine doses as reported by Africa CDC Director, John Nkengasong. (Africa News | Medical Express)
  • Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine shown to give greater protection against severe forms of COVID-19 disease. (Bloomberg)
  • Heparin that targets coronavirus spikes protecting interaction with ACE2 receptors have been found to show promise in COVID-19 management. (Medical Express)
  • New COVID-19 variants fuelling Africa’s second wave of COVID-19 infections. (WHO Africa Regional Office)
  • The EU Commissioner Kyriakides issued a statement on deliveries of vaccines by AstraZeneca pointing at probable need for approval on exports to third countries. (European Commission | IFPMA)
  • Pharmaceutical companies continue to inch forward when it comes to addressing access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries, finds the 2021 Access to Medicine Index, published Tuesday 26 January, 2021. (Access To Medicines Index)
  • KAPI Leadership Pays Courtesy Visit to the Principal Secretary (PS), Ministry of Health to deliberate on regulatory concerns plaguing the industry, medicines prices, COVID-19 vaccination plans among other issues in the industry. (Press Release)

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KAPI WEEKLY BRIEF: 18TH – 22ND JAN. 2021

Executive Summary

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is a membership organization, established in the late 1960s, representing biopharmaceutical manufacturers (or their local representatives) that through research invent and develop medicines and technologies (e.g., Biopharmaceuticals, Vaccine Healthcare, Medical devices, Diagnostics) that significantly improve people’s lives. KAPI represents the industry voice and promotes efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medical products and healthcare technologies of the highest quality can be readily available for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Weekly Brief:

This is a roundup of news allied to the biopharmaceutical industry with a bearing on our mission to improve access to lifesaving health products and technologies for positive health outcomes.

  • Larger trials needed to assess efficacy of tocilizumab in managing COVID-19. This follows conflicting findings from a study done in Brazil on the same drug published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). (Reuters)
  • The US Government under President Biden and VP Kamala Harris recommits to WHO and plans to engage in supporting COVAX platform to support access to COVID-19 vaccines by poor countries. (AP News | AP News)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes proposal by the European Commission to establish a treaty on Pandemic Preparedness keen on mobilizing political commitment at such critical times. (Reuters)
  • Three COVID-19 vaccines under final review by WHO for emergency use approval (Reuters)
  • “Equal access” to coronavirus vaccines is failing poor countries (POLITICO)
  • With emergence of new COVID-19 variants, vaccine efficacy against the new variants have been a concern. A study by Pfizer/BioNTech confirms efficacy of their vaccine against the UK variant of the virus. (Financial Times | STAT)
  • Global leaders make calls to rethink global public health governance for research and development on the backdrop of a raging pandemic. (South Center)
  • African children are consistently excluded from cancer clinical trials leading to high burden of cancer with no established therapies for this population. They are the unseen and the unheard. (BMJ Global Health)
  • WHO Executive Board discusses for the first time the importance of implementing mental health and psychosocial support services and activities. This will be expedited by endorsing the updated mental health action plan 2013 – 2030. (Relief Web)
  • Antibiotics overuse among pediatric patients which is rampant is driving the spike in antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ in children’s hospitals. (Business Insider | Infectious Disease Society of America)
  • Drop in vaccination causes surge in global measles cases and deaths (JAMA)
  • Monthly Malaria Prophylaxis cuts child deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa (JAMA)
  • Progress towards ending TB at risk (Development Policy Center)
  • Gritstone Oncology a biotech company working on cancer vaccines adds COVID-19 vaccine to its pipeline with the hope of developing a vaccine effective against the entire family of viruses. (Fierce Biotech)
  • Single COVID-19 vaccine doses not as effective as earlier hoped. Study in Israel finds out. (Guardian)
  • COVID-19 vaccine shots to cost $3 to $ 10 under the African Union vaccine plan (Reuters)
  • COVAX is ready to deliver vaccines, WHO officials tell WHO Executive Board – but Regulatory Approvals still lagging for key COVAX products (Health Policy Watch)
  • Independent panel on pandemic preparedness and response presented a report on WHO with findings showing the agency is powerless with need for more funding and reforms. (France 24 | WSJ)
  • Executive Board members of the WHO call for diversification and reform of the agencies funding mechanisms to avoid budget crisis as was witnessed when US withdrew. (Health Policy Watch)
  • Nations propose strengthening of local manufacture of medicines and other health technologies to improve access to medicines during 148th Session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting. (WHO)
  • Africa CDC opens up COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for 55 AU countries (CGTN)
  • FDA approves first monthly injectable to treat HIV infection (STAT)

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