Limiting Coronavirus Exposure, WHO Urging Stepped Up Measures to Combat Virus
Palm Beach, FL – March 12, 2020 The spread of the new coronavirus has reached pandemic levels, according to the World Health Organization. Reuters recently reported that a union in Washington State (a hard-hit center for the virus) representing U.S. airport security screeners is urging the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to supply more effective masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus, union leadership told Reuters on Tuesday. The union, the AFGE TSA Council 100, which represents about 45,000 transportation security officers at airports across the United States, sent an email on Tuesday morning to TSA Administrator David Pekoske calling on the agency to provide the masks to workers. The call for more effective masks comes as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, prompting President Donald Trump’s administration to discuss emergency measures to limit the fallout to public health and the economy. The union wants the transportation agency to provide a type of mask known as an N95 respirator, designed to protect the wearer from smaller pathogens such as coronavirus. The spread of the coronavirus, which has now reached more than 110 countries and territories, has triggered a global shortage of N95 respirator masks. Active companies in the markets this week include Hawkeye Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: HWKE), Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO), Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), iBio, Inc. (NYSE: IBIO).
An article from NPR echoed that saying that: “… around the country first responders are bracing themselves for an increase in calls as more states confirm cases of the new virus.” It continued, discussing the looming shortages: “Around the country EMS departments are preparing. One concern they share is a looming shortage of masks. State EMS directors are worried agencies could run out “in the next couple weeks,” says Leslee Stein-Spencer, a program advisor at the National Association of State EMS Officials. The shortage will have significant consequences, Stein-Spencer says. When workers get sick, it gets harder to keep ambulance services running. “If it comes to that point, you would look at alternate staffing measures, and you would look at, you know, triaging,” she says. “The sickest patients would come to the hospital and the others would not get an ambulance.”
Hawkeye Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: HWKE) NEWS: Hawkeye Systems Signs LOI with Major n95 Mask distributer in Taiwan to Rapidly Produce Smart Masks for Bio-surveillance Response to Coronavirus Outbreak – Hawkeye Systems has entered into an LOI with Arizona Asian Pacific Trade and Consulting, a major protective mask company in Taiwan, to enable the rapid production of a customized smart mask to aid in the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The smart mask will integrate with Hawkeye’s jointly developed in-depth camera, known as the Hawkeye [N-DEPTH] Body Camera, to bolster bio-surveillance by first responders and others monitoring and managing the global COVID-19 crisis.
To help generate better information and in turn, more effective decision support during pandemics, bio-terrorist attacks and other potential bio outbreaks, Hawkeye is working to add smart functionality to current best-in-breed masks (N95 or better). The advanced technology will work with existing masks as well, but the thought is that close integration with the manufacturer may bring more rapid innovation to the mask, said Corby Marshall, CEO of Hawkeye.
“The present COVID-19 situation throughout the world is obviously fluid and there are a lot of unknowns,” Marshall said. “We believe the application of this technology now with current best practices can help improve the data surrounding the crisis.” Read this full press release and more HWKE news here: https://www.financialnewsmedia.com/news-hwke/
Other recent developments in the markets this week include:
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) recently announced an accelerated timeline for developing its DNA vaccine INO-4800 to address COVID-19, the respiratory infection the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated a Public Health Emergency of International Concern of the highest level. According to WHO, approximately 89,000 cases have been reported globally with more than 3,000 deaths.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President & CEO, shared this accelerated timeline at the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the White House on March 2. Dr. Kim said, “Inovio is the leader in coronavirus vaccine development and the only company with a Phase 2 vaccine for a related coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Using our modern DNA medicines platform, we designed our DNA vaccine INO-4800 in three hours after the publication of the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”
Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) recently announced that enrollment is complete for all three dose cohorts of the Phase 2 dose-confirmation study of its investigational cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine (mRNA-1647). mRNA-1647, the first mRNA vaccine for an infectious disease to enter a Phase 2 study, is a wholly owned program in Moderna’s prophylactic vaccines portfolio.
On January 9, the Company announced positive seven-month interim safety and immunogenicity data after the third and final vaccination of the 30, 90, and 180 μg dose level cohorts of the Phase 1 study, which built on the previously reported three-month interim analysis, after two vaccinations. The first interim analysis of the Phase 2 study is expected in the third quarter of 2020.
iBio, Inc. (NYSE: IBIO) and Beijing CC-Pharming Ltd., recently announced their collaboration to develop and test a new 2019-nCoV vaccine to be manufactured using iBio’s FastPharming System™. The companies are expediting work as predictions about spread of the disease continue to worsen.
The joint effort leverages twenty-five years of vaccine research and development experience – inclusive of work on the MERS-coronavirus – by Dr. Kevin Wang (Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, CC-Pharming) along with the decades of experience that Dr. Sylvain Marcel (VP Upstream Bioprocessing, iBio) possesses in the rapid design of manufacturing processes for biopharmaceutical production in plant-based expression systems. If successful, the research will deliver product candidates which can then be quickly produced at iBio’s FastPharming Manufacturing Facility.
Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) recently announced that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) awarded an initial funding of $4 million to support Novavax’ efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. CEPI and Novavax are having ongoing discussions on additional funding from CEPI to address Novavax’ costs through Phase 1.
“This first stage of funding from CEPI is critical to enable ongoing development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidates,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax. “We commend CEPI for its role as a vital partner to bridge the funding gap for innovative biotech companies like Novavax, which have robust vaccine technology platforms. Novavax is working tirelessly to create a vaccine against this growing epidemic.”
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