The European nephrology association ERA-EDTA has created a European database to collect granular individual data of dialysis patients and transplanted patients with COVID-19. "End-stage renal disease patients are generally assumed to be at very high risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 complications," and are therefore sometimes refused admission to intensive care units, the group said. However, there are conflicting data on the matter. Therefore, the association is aiming to "gain insights into the patient and treatment characteristics that are related to outcome and to learn about modifiable risk factors, which would help to improve the prognosis of our patients," it said.

Immunomic Therapeutics Inc., of Rockville, Md., said that together with Providence, R.I.-based Epivax Inc. and Golden, Colo.-based Pharmajet Inc., it is developing a nucleic acid vaccine candidate against COVID-19 leveraging its Universal Intracellular Targeted Expression platform, previously used to create vaccine candidates for rabies, yellow fever, dengue fever, hepatitis C and SARS. The companies also said they plan to explore grant initiatives to support their work.

The Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and scientists from Trieste, Italy, reported the characterization of a novel mutation in the RNA polymerase of certain viral strains of SARS-CoV-2 carried by patients located in Europe and North America. In addition, different patterns of mutations were identified in viral strains corresponding to different geographical areas, they said. The data were submitted to, and preprinted by, the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Pharmazz Inc., of Willowbrook, Ill., said centhaquine, a medicine currently in pre-registration for hypovolemic shock, can provide hemodynamic stability, improve tissue oxygenation, reduce pulmonary edema, reduce acute respiratory distress syndrome, reduce multiple organ dysfunction score and decrease mortality in patients with COVID-19. The company said it is "approaching various regulatory agencies" to discuss use of the medicine as an adjuvant in the management of critically ill patients with COVID-19.

Samsung Biologics Co. Ltd., of Songdo, South Korea, and San Francisco-based Vir Biotechnology Inc. announced a manufacturing agreement under which Samsung Biologics will perform large-scale manufacturing services for Vir’s SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody program. Under terms of the deal, valued at about $362 million, Samsung Biologics is expected to start manufacturing as early as October, with potential commercial batches to be manufactured starting in 2021. Vir plans to move into a phase II trial within the next three to five months, according to the companies. Vir previously announced a manufacturing agreement with Shanghai-based Wuxi Biologics Co. Ltd. and signed a letter of intent with Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Inc.