FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
NEW YORK, April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the viral pandemic continues to spread, so too does the world's collective uncertainty regarding when and how quickly we will return to normalcy. In the meantime, the number of infected in the United States continues to rise. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed cases in the US is approaching 800,000 with more than 40,000 deaths were recorded. New York is by far the worst-hit state, with more than 18,000 deaths, while more than 4,000 have died in New Jersey and more than 2,000 in Michigan. Despite the high numbers, plans to get as many Americans back into the workplace as quickly as possible are underway. Experts warn however, that the economy should not be reopened too soon. "If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you're gonna set yourself back," Dr Anthony Fauci explained, "So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a re-opening, it's going to backfire. That's the problem. Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen." Codebase Ventures Inc. (OTC: BKLLF) (CSE: CODE), OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), OpGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPGN), Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYCC), OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR).
Over the course of the last two months, diagnostic testing has improved, ye still lags behind what most public health experts claim is needed to prevent a second wave. Antibody testing is, in fact, is just beginning and may not be always accurate. Just last week, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told NBC that "I am concerned that some of the antibody tests that are in the market that haven't gone through the FDA scientific review may not be as accurate as we'd like them to be. No test is 100 percent perfect. But what we don't want are wildly inaccurate tests. Because, as I said before, that's going to be much worse." With the spread of the pandemic, various companies from a vast field of industries, including biotechs, medical device manufacturers, tech conglomerates and others have all made various announcements of products or services related to the pandemic.
Codebase Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: BKLLF) (CSE: CODE) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CODE). Today, the company reported breaking news that it expands, "upon its announcement of April 16th regarding its agreement to acquire a 49% interest in an arms-length private company with the rights to a provisional patent for a transdermal drug delivery system for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Hydroxychloroquine has been heavily publicized in relation to its potential treatment and prevention role with Covid-19, leading to instances of self medication, where 'hydroxychloroquine can have dangerous side-effects if the dose is not carefully controlled'. 1,2
The hydroxychloroquine transdermal drug delivery system to be developed by an investee company of Codebase is designed to control dosage and to deliver the prescribed amount of the drug over the prescribed time period without inconsistencies inherent in oral tablet delivery - the premise being that transdermal delivery can reduce and/or eliminate side effects associated with uncontrolled dosing.
Reformulation Research Laboratories Inc. (RRL), Code's contract lab partners in the venture, have provided that transdermal delivery of hydroxychloroquine can result in improved well being for patients by providing constant drug levels, fewer side effects overall, highlighted by the fact unlike oral tablets, transdermal delivery bypasses the gastrointestinal tract which can eliminate side effects from that route such as nausea. In addition, limitations on bioavailability and metabolism of the active ingredient when taken orally require dosages to be higher than what is required for therapeutic results. Transdermal delivery is more efficient, and with greater bioavailability and therefore lower amounts of the active ingredient are required, which also can improve outcomes for patients.
The Company's scientific expert has read and approved the scientific disclosures contained in the press release. The Company is not making any express or implied claims that its product has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the Covid-19 at this time. RRL is not making any express or implied claims that any of its products have the ability to deliver hydroxychloroquine through transdermal at this time."
For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring Codebase Ventures Inc. recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9Oqei6lCXU
OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK) announced earlier this month, through BioReference Laboratories, Inc., an OPKO Health company, that it will continue to prioritize COVID-19 testing for hospital inpatients and critically ill patients around the country. "Our goal is to maintain the current 24 hour turnaround time for these patients," said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. "Nothing is more important than getting a timely result back to the medical personnel on the front lines making treatment decisions on a minute-to-minute basis." BioReference Laboratories is accepting specimens for COVID-19 testing from healthcare providers, clinics and health systems throughout the United States to promote earlier diagnosis of the coronavirus and to aid in limiting spread of infection. In addition to its nationwide COVID-19 testing offering, BioReference has partnerships with the New York State Department of Health, the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (NYC Health + Hospitals), the State of New Jersey, the State of Florida and the cities of Detroit and Miami to provide COVID-19 testing.
OpGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPGN) reported last month an update on the business of Curetis GmbH ("Curetis"), the other party to the planned business combination with OpGen. Today, Curetis announced that it started offering a CE-IVD certified real-time PCR test kit for SARS-CoV2 (also known as 2019-nCov), the causal pathogen of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). The test kit was developed and is manufactured by Curetis' strategic partner BGI (Shenzhen, China) and was cleared by Chinese authorities in January 2020. In compliance with European regulations for in-vitro-diagnostics (IVD) tests, the test kit was CE-IVD certified on February 28, 2020. The BGI 2019-nCoV RT-qPCR Kit enables diagnostic laboratories to perform SARS-CoV2 testing of nasopharyngeal swabs and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients suspected to suffer from Covid-19. The test kit is compatible with standard methods for extracting the virus' nucleic acid from the sample such as the QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit (QIAGEN) and can be performed on standard real-time PCR instruments such as the Applied Biosystems 7500 Real-Time PCR System (ThermoFisher Scientific) that are available in many molecular diagnostic laboratories in Europe. The test kit includes all necessary reagents and controls to test up to 48 patients in just a few hours.
Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYCC) announced yesterday that it entered into an agreement with the University of Edinburgh to study fadraciclib (CYC065) and seliciclib (CYC202 or R-roscovitine), its clinical stage CDK2/9 inhibitors, as potential early treatments for the inflammatory response observed in patients with COVID-19 disease. The parties will assess Cyclacel's medicines above for their suitability for use in safety and efficacy studies in COVID-19 patients. This evaluation is part of a broader project ("STOPCOVID") studying the inflammatory pathways that lead directly to COVID-19 lung injury, drawing upon more than 30 years of experience from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Inflammation Research. STOPCOVID is supported by a £2 million (approximately $2.5 million) grant from LifeArc and the University is seeking further funding.
OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR) announced earlier this month that it has been awarded a $710,310 contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to develop a pan-SARS-coronavirus antigen rapid in-home self-test that uses oral fluid samples. This support from BARDA will enable OraSure to file for FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing for an in-home self-test to debut into the U.S. market. A rapid antigen test would also aid in screening initiatives to identify individuals with acute COVID-19 infection with or without symptoms, allowing immediate follow-up access to the patient for further testing and/or quarantine and treatment if necessary. "We need to put tests into people's hands to know their infection status and protect their loved ones. At BARDA, we are continually looking for transformative technologies to combat public health threats, and rapid at-home coronavirus testing would be a game-changer," said BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D. "We know that people can spread COVID-19 without showing any symptoms, and with rapid at-home testing people could take immediate action to prevent the spread of the virus."
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