NEW YORK, March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, the stock market rebounded as Wall Street tried to recover from the previous session; dubbed by some as the worst trading day since the Black Monday market crash of 1987. The Federal Reserve took measures to help the economy maintain its momentum in a face of system paralysis due to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As markets reeled this week, the Federal Reserve announced a plan to pump USD 1.5 Trillion into short-term funding markets over the next two days to help stabilize the financial system, but that appeared to have little effect on Thursday. This was an addition to the Fed's decision to cut interest rates by half a percentage point in an emergency move in the week prior and it was reported that analysts expect the central bank to cut rates again at its March 18th meeting. The rates affect the cost of borrowing on everything from credit cards to auto loans. "These changes are being made to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak. Reserve management purchases into the second quarter will continue to be conducted with this maturity allocation," the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in a statement on Thursday. U.S. Lithium Corp. (OTC: LITH), iBio Inc. (NYSE: IBIO), Alpha Pro Tech Ltd. (NYSE: APT), Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), Aytu BioScience, Inc. (NASDAQ: AYTU)
In response to the outbreak, governments around the world have focused their resources on curing COVID-19. Besides the research necessary to develop a vaccine, accelerated R&D also focuses on diagnostic techniques, specifically on the scope of blood testing services throughout the industry. For example, researchers around the world are racing to develop antibody tests, also called serological tests, that can confirm whether someone was infected even after their immune system has cleared the virus. According to a report published by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), disease trackers in Singapore have used an experimental antibody test for COVID-19 to confirm that a suspected patient was infected with the coronavirus. The patient was one of two people who, together, formed a missing link between two clusters of cases that each occurred in a Singaporean church. "The group that developed the test, at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, is among the front-runners, although its assay has to be validated before it is taken into production and deployed widely. In blood samples from recovered patients, the team identified antibodies targeting the spike protein that proved able to block the virus from killing cells in laboratory tests. In parallel, they created synthetic viral proteins that can detect those antibodies in a blood sample without having to use the live virus," AAAS explains.
U.S. Lithium Corp. (OTC: LITH), soon to be renamed BioELife Corp., announced earlier last week breaking news that "the Company's chemists and medical advisors have completed their specifications for, and selection of, virus and bacteria protection products including a powerful hand sanitizer fortified with CBD and ultra-protective Nano-Fiber Face Masks. The masks will be manufactured by Respilon, a leading producer of nanofiber products. These products will be part of the Company's BioEDefender product line and are now available for pre-order on the Company's ecommerce site, www.bioelife.net , with expected fulfillment the first week of April.
The core of the masks consists of the latest technology using four layers of protection including a nanofiber membrane, RespiPro, with a 60 nano-meter opening that mechanically captures 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. These masks also contain a revolutionary layer of fabric with accelerated copper dioxide (ACuO) which deactivates viruses and bacteria with a 99.9% efficiency. This new pathogen-deactivating feature helps reduce the spread of viruses. The masks can be reused for several days and are not considered biohazardous material after use. A second version, the Respiratory Shield, also has a Bacterial and Virus Filtration Efficiency of 99.9% and with same benefits but was engineered for 50 washing cycles. See more including videos at www.respimasks.com.
The BioEDefense Hand Sanitizer is a proprietary formulation that combines Vitamin E, Aloe, and other nutrients fortified with pure CBD in a blend with a 70% alcohol base. This exceeds the Center for Disease Control's recommended alcohol potency for viral and bacterial defense and protection. While CBD is not a cure for the Coronavirus, its anti-bacteria, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory properties can assist and be very beneficial in the fight against this global pandemic.
Gregory Rotelli, Chairman of the Board and President of BioELife stated, 'We are very proud of our emerging virus and bacteria protection product line which was specifically designed to aid this worldwide crisis. Our Respilon masks are by far the most effective available due to their revolutionary Nano-Fiber Technology and our BioEDefense Sanitizer exceeds The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for viral and bacterial defense while being fortified with the beneficial proprieties of CBD. Most importantly, we are providing these critically important products on our ecommerce site, www.bioelife.net, at an attractive value point compared to less effective options being sold by our competitors at much higher price points.'
About the Company: BioELife Corp. was created by successful pharmaceutical entrepreneurs dedicated to using nature's resources to fight pain and infection while reducing the dependency on opioids and their terrible side effects. The Company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the emerging Cannabinoid market that is growing at phenomenal rates and is expected to reach $20 Billion over the next five years. The Company has created a 'seed to shelf' value-added product development and marketing organization with direct contracts for raw materials, scientific proprietary formulation, manufacturing, and distribution of medically focused Cannabinoid products."
iBio Inc. (NYSE: IBIO) and Beijing CC-Pharming Ltd., announced last month 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. Dr. Wang commented, "This is an important collaboration to develop plant-derived vaccine strategies for the emerging coronavirus outbreak here in China, and around the world. iBio's capabilities will enhance our ability to rapidly scale-up vaccine candidate production in effort to combat the 2019-nCoV virus' threat to global health."
Alpha Pro Tech Ltd. (NYSE: APT) announced last week an update to the status of orders booked for APT's personal protective equipment products in connection with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. As of March 11, 2020, APT has booked approximately $22.6 million in orders for the company's proprietary N-95 Particulate Respirator face mask since January 27, 2020, an increase of $8.5 million, or 60%, from the $14.1 million reported as of February 27, 2020, and demand for the product remains strong. As a result of a ramp up in production, the company maintains expectations to fulfill approximately $4.0 million of the currently booked orders in the first quarter of 2020, with the remaining $18.6 million in backlog of orders to be fulfilled by early in the third quarter of 2020. The company still expects the ramp up plan on N-95 face mask production to be completed by early May, which will enable the company to continue to fulfill current and expected future orders. The Alpha Pro Tech N-95 Particulate Respirator face mask's unique flat-fold design features a Positive Facial Lock® (PFL®) and meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) recommended protection levels for many airborne contaminants. The N-95 face mask filters at least 95% of airborne particles. The integrated Magic Arch® technology creates a comfortable breathing chamber within the N-95 face mask by holding it away from the wearer's nose and mouth.
Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) announced last week that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (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." Novavax has produced and is currently assessing multiple recombinant nanoparticle vaccine candidates in animal models prior to advancing to clinical trials. Initiation of Phase1 clinical testing is expected in late spring of 2020. Novavax' COVID-19 vaccine candidates were created with its proprietary recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein. Novavax also expects to utilize its proprietary Matrix-M™ adjuvant with its COVID-19 vaccine candidates to enhance immune responses.
Aytu BioScience, Inc. (NASDAQ: AYTU) announced last week the establishment of a COVID-19 inquiry procedure to ensure the company adequately responds to inbound inquires from professionals and the public. In order to streamline and effectively capture the significant number of inbound inquiries related to the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test, the company requests healthcare professionals, institutions, and other interested parties to send email inquiries to a COVID-19-dedicated email address. Josh Disbrow, Chief Executive Officer of Aytu BioScience, commented, "Aytu BioScience is working to be as responsive as possible to the numerous inbound inquiries we're receiving relating to the COVID-19 Rapid Test. With the high volume of inbound calls and emails the Company has received, we want to ensure effective communication and timely response to these calls and emails." The COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test is a solid phase immunochromatographic assay used in the rapid, qualitative and differential detection of IgG and IgM antibodies to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in human whole blood, serum or plasma. This point-of-care test has been validated in a 113 patient clinical trial and has received CE marking. It is currently one of only a few tests used for coronavirus screening in China.
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