💊 Africa CDC helps Cameroon with genomic surveillance; WHO warns against harmful food marketing; Moderna makes Chinese inroads
#377 | El Niño is officially here; Experiencing the hottest day ever; Deciphering auditory signals
Hello and welcome back to The Kable. El Niño is officially here, so get ready for things to heat up even more. More rainfall in some regions. Severe drought in others. And all the health impacts of such extreme weather on people everywhere.
In the UK, a report claims that the Health Security Agency – established in 2021 to manage public health – had financial controls so weak that Parliament cannot determine if its funds were used appropriately. £3.3 billion (~ $4.2 billion) worth of inventory for the UK’s Covid test and trace system cannot be properly accounted for.
Waters Corporation is entering a multi-year academia-industry research collaboration with Princeton University to bring scientists, faculty and students together on complex biochemistry and materials science challenges. The eventual goal is to help biopharma scientists deliver safe and effective therapeutics for oncology, autoimmune, and other diseases.
In India, Procter & Gamble is investing ₹2000 crore (~$250 million) to set up a personal healthcare manufacturing facility in the state of Gujarat.
Sosei Heptares’ GPR52 agonist for the treatment of schizophrenia has progressed into clinical trials, with the first patient being dosed in a phase 1 study. The oral treatment HTL’149 is designed to address cognitive impairment, social withdrawal and other symptoms in schizophrenia patients without the adverse effects usually associated with antipsychotic drugs.
AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Datopotamab deruxtecan prolonged progression-free survival in patients with recurrent non-small cell lung cancer in a phase 3 study. But the benefits of the ADC are not as groundbreaking as hoped.
The WHO and Health Level Seven (HL7), a standards-development organisation, have inked a project collaboration agreement to support the adoption of global open interoperability standards, critical for consistent data representation and communication between digital solutions in health.
Moderna is expected to enter an agreement with the Shanghai government to invest about $1 billion to promote vaccine development and manufacturing of mRNA-based products in China. Unsurprising, as Moderna set up a legal entity in Shanghai earlier this year.
Also in China, Sino Biopharmaceutical is on track to produce the world’s first norovirus vaccine.
South Korea’s SK Bioscience has signed an MoU with Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation to give a boost to local vaccine production and infrastructure.
The Africa CDC has handed over sequencing equipment – including Miseq and MinION sequencing machines, an analytical and storage server and more – to Cameroon to enhance pathogen genomic surveillance and support the development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
In Egypt, the environment minister has inaugurated the country’s first environmentally-friendly pharma plant.
In Nigeria, Bloom Public Health has started the Pharmacity Project to set up pharma manufacturing parks across the country.
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has published new standards on microbiological methods in the sterilisation of health care products; this includes the evaluation of bacterial endotoxin pyrogens.
In India, homoeopathy practitioners want the Health Ministry to support research organisations and private practitioners to conduct scientific research and build trust in the field.
And finally, even as the use of psychedelics to treat psychiatric conditions gains acceptance, researchers can’t agree on how the drugs actually work. Placebo effect? Physical or biochemical changes in the brain? Life-changing mystical experiences? Only more research can tell.