A Valley research center just got the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start a clinical trial on a drug to treat the coronavirus. This study is taking a drug that’s already been on the market for years to see if it will work to stop coronavirus from progressing to COVID-19. Dr. Joseph Gimbel says he and his team at Arizona Research Center are the only ones in the country cleared for this new phase one clinical trial. “I’ve done 1,200 trials and this is the most exciting trial I’ve ever done because of the potential, how many lives we can actually, potentially save if this drug does what we think it does,” Gimbel said. They’re testing a drug called nafamostat. It’s been around 30 years in intravenous therapy form treating patients with pancreatitis.
“This drug has been considered safe with minimal side effects in Japan,” Gimbel said. Repurposing an existing drug means there’s a proven track record of safety. As for efficacy, Gimbel’s team will be testing a new pill form, first on healthy patients here in the Valley, then hopefully on the coronavirus patients within a couple of months to see if works to stop the progression to the more dire symptoms of COVID-19.
Russia to Share Legal Risks of COVID-19 Vaccine
Russia is so confident in its COVID-19 vaccine that it will shoulder some of the legal liability should anything go wrong, rather than requiring buyers to take on the full risk, the head of the state fund bankrolling the project told Reuters. The decision leaves the vaccine’s state-backed developers open to potentially costly compensation claims should there be any unexpected side-effects. It is something many vaccine-makers have sought to avoid, by asking for full indemnity – complete protection from liability claims – from nations they sell to. The approach is different from many places in the world. In the United States, for example, liability for COVID-19 vaccines has been shifted fully to the U.S. government. This shields the developers because widespread inoculation against the disease is considered a benefit to society.
With the global vaccine race hotting up, and dozens of candidates being tested on humans, backers of Russia’s ‘Sputnik-V’ shot see liability as a key battleground as they aim to capture market share. “Russia is so confident in its vaccine that it has not asked for full indemnity and this is a major differentiating factor versus any Western vaccine,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the state sovereign wealth fund that is backing the vaccine.