This week we look at the challenges of scaling up monkeypox vaccine production to meet demand as the outbreak continues to grow globally. We also examine the large number of COVID-19 diagnostics, using real-world data to study pregnancy, and the promise of new stem cell studies coming from Japan. Finally, we look at how new technology can help blind scientists participate in research.
Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Bavarian Nordic, manufacturer of the monkeypox vaccine, Jynneos, has shifted its production to focus solely on manufacturing Jynneos through the end of next year. There is one other monkeypox vaccine on the market, ACAM2000; however, ACAM2000 has more side effects and adverse events than Jynneos making Jynneos the preferred vaccine on the market. The U.S. government has ordered nearly 20 million doses of Jynneos through the end of 2023. Even with the shift to solely focusing its manufacturing on Jynneos, the company expects only about 4 million doses to be delivered by the end of the year.
The Food and Drug Administration recently released updated statistics on the number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and sample collection devices it has authorized under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). More than 439 tests and sample collection devices have been authorized, including 302 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 85 antibody and other immune response tests, 51 antigen tests, and one diagnostic breath test.
Pregnancies are historically under-researched because women are reluctant to participate in research during pregnancy. Using electronic health record data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, researchers have been able to perform an analysis of real-world data to identify anonymized pregnancy patients. Further, the researchers claim to have developed an algorithm to build the patient’s history. This identification could allow researchers to better understand the impact of COVID-19 (or other diseases) during pregnancy.
Starting in 2013, the Japanese government began making a series of investments in research on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). These types of cells are created by taking adult cells and converting them back into stem cells. Several early studies have shown that when implanted, these cells are able to survive and may be providing clinical benefit to patients with blindness and heart disease. The results are early, but show that iPS cells are a possible avenue to new therapies.
When thinking about how technology can help differently abled people, we in life sciences naturally think of new therapeutics. Sometimes, there are much simpler solutions that a new technology makes possible. In this article from Science, researchers highlight how they are using 3D printing to ensure that blind scientists can use their sense of feel instead of sight to review research results. This allows a broader pool of people to contribute to their research.