Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicine started climbing in mid-February, spiking 34% by March 15, according to a new report from Express Scripts, a Cigna-owned pharmacy benefit manager. The peak roughly coincides with the World Health Organization declaring a global pandemic on March 11 and states starting to impose stay-at-home orders. The recent increase in usage was nearly twice as high for women, whose prescriptions jumped almost 40%, compared with men, who saw a 22.7% rise. It’s a sharp reversal from the pattern over the last five years, during which the use of drugs known as benzodiazepines — including Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan and Valium — declined 12.1% .
Temple University Hospital Begins Clinical Trial of Gimsilumab
The BREATHE clinical trial will analyze the effect of administering intravenous gimsilumab on mortality for individuals with COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial will enroll up to 270 individuals with confirmed COVID-19 cases and clinical evidence of severe lung injury or ARDS. Patients will be randomized 1:1, receiving either gimsilumab or placebo.1 The primary endpoint of the clinical trials is to evaluate the incidence of mortality by day 43; significant secondary endpoints include usage and duration of mechanical ventilation, the number of days in intensive care, as well as the number of days of inpatient hospitalization.1
Dynavax, Sinovac the Latest to Ally on a COVID-19 Vaccine
Two more vaccine makers are joining the hunt. Dynavax and Sinovac are teaming up on a vaccine for COVID-19, combining the former’s vaccine adjuvant with the latter’s chemically inactivated coronavirus vaccine candidate. In March, the San Francisco Bay Area-based company struck partnerships with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Clover Pharmaceuticals to ramp up the development of a vaccine to address the pandemic. Under both pacts, Dynavax will provide its toll-like receptor 9 agonist adjuvant, CpG 1018, to its partners to boost patients’ immune response to vaccines.