As state and federal authorities deliberate over how to safely reopen U.S. society during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tools that effectively monitor body temperature at a population level could help to get the ball rolling. To that end, software development firm Altoros Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., has released the Fever Screener, a fully automated, enterprise-grade system for setting up temperature scanning checkpoints. Fever Screener can scan up to 30 people simultaneously at a distance of 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet, with a temperature accuracy of roughly 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Installed in entryways, checkpoints or other crowded venues, it can provide mass screenings, as well as recurrent temperature monitoring for potentially infected individuals.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) managed to beat analyst earnings estimates due to unexpectedly strong first-quarter results in its consumer health and pharmaceutical businesses. But while those saw revenues climb in the double digits, its medical devices business declined by almost 5% due to deferred procedures. Wall Street rewarded the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company by driving its shares (NYSE:JNJ) up more than 5%. That’s even though the company also lowered its 2020 guidance.
An April 15 U.S. FDA stakeholder call revisited several themes of interest in connection with diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Tim Stenzel, director of the agency’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, said that while the agency has not yet authorized a home sample collection kit, “we do think it’s going to happen very soon.”
Within two weeks of a public challenge to design user-friendly, easily built ventilators, Montreal-based CAE Inc., formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics, began gearing up to distribute 10,000 units of its newly created ventilator over the next three months.
Less than a year after backing Tscan Therapeutics Inc.'s $48 million series B round, Novartis AG is tapping the Waltham, Mass.-based company to discover and develop new T-cell receptor (TCR)-engineered T-cell therapies for up to three new solid tumor targets. The collaboration includes an up-front technology access fee and research funding totaling $30 million, as well as potential clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments that could total hundreds of millions of dollars, Tscan said.
Two phase III studies in China testing Gilead Sciences Inc.’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, in patients with COVID-19 infection have been halted after Chinese authorities reported a lack of eligible patients. Other studies, including trials sponsored by the Foster City, Calif.-based company, remain ongoing.
The collection of nasal and throat swab samples to detect the presence or absence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has proven problematic on a few fronts, particularly in the U.S. The swabs themselves often have become scarce and difficult to obtain, while health care workers are routinely risking their own health commonly in the absence of proper protective equipment. In addition, sampling difficulties have largely been blamed for a very high false negative rate that could be as much as 25%.