Global Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak Intensifies
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of confirmed cases crossed the 100,000 mark over the weekend and cases have been reported from over 100 countries. The death toll from COVID-19 passed 4,000 worldwide. WHO now indicates that the fact that so many have been affected so quickly is troubling and that the threat of a pandemic is very real. In the meantime, the United States and Europe continued to accelerate their response to the outbreak, preparing for a probable increase of COVID-19 cases. Italy, which in an unprecedented move has extended its containment measures to the entire country, has confirmed more than 9,000 cases. As for the U.S, an effort has been made to contain the spread of the virus by restricting travel to and from China and isolating identified cases. Plus, several biotechnology companies announced publicly that they began work on vaccines. Early on Tuesday, the financial markets rebounded, after Monday was heralded as Wall Street’s worst since the financial crash of 2008. Yet, WHO claims that this could be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled. According to the organization, the great advantage we have is that the decisions we all make – as governments, businesses, communities, families and individuals can influence the trajectory of this epidemic. U.S. Lithium Corp., Co-Diagnostics, Inc., Aytu BioScience, Inc., NanoViricides, Inc. ), Cocrystal Pharma, Inc.
A young industry that only recently began to generate steam may join other global industries in feeling the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. For some time, it was unclear how the outbreak would change the cannabis industry, but now that the epidemic is upending the carefully calibrated logistics of global shipping, it is becoming clearer. Marijuana Business Daily reported that most of the negative impact will come as the result of shortages of Chinese-supplied products such as vape hardware, packaging and raw hemp as well as the shock the virus is inflicting on the global economy and financial markets. The benefits are expected to be in the long term. U.S based, manufacturers are going to have to step up their game to fill the void left by lack of Chinese imports, creating the groundwork for companies to expand further and compete more voraciously in the future. Nic Easley, CEO of Denver-based 3C Consulting, explained according to the MJBizDaily that, “It’s a huge wake-up call… It’s forcing companies to look at their supply chain. ‘Where do my products come from? Do I have multiple options for vendors?’ The biggest thing I see is finally a break for U.S. CBD companies and hemp companies to do something when they don’t have massive competition… It’s also a moment for smaller companies that have lost their market share to China to step up, ramp up and focus on relationships at all costs. Get new clients now and hold them and know that most of the public-market impacts, you’re not going to see that until the next quarter.”
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U.S. Lithium Corp., soon to be renamed BioELife Corp., just announced breaking news that, “the Company’s chemists and medical advisors have completed their specifications for, and selection of, virus and bacteria protection products including a powerful hand sanitizer fortified with CBD and ultra-protective Nano-Fiber Face Masks. The masks will be manufactured by Respilon, a leading producer of nanofiber products. These products will be part of the Company’s BioEDefender product line and are now available for pre-order on the Company’s ecommerce site, www.bioelife.net, with expected fulfillment the first week of April.
The core of the masks consists of the latest technology using four layers of protection including a nanofiber membrane, RespiPro, with a 60 nano-meter opening that mechanically captures 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. These masks also contain a revolutionary layer of fabric with accelerated copper dioxide (ACuO) which deactivates viruses and bacteria with a 99.9% efficiency. This new pathogen-deactivating feature helps reduce the spread of viruses. The masks can be reused for several days and are not considered biohazardous material after use. A second version, the Respiratory Shield, also has a Bacterial and Virus Filtration Efficiency of 99.9% and with same benefits but was engineered for 50 washing cycles. See more including videos at www.respimasks.com.
The BioEDefense Hand Sanitizer is a proprietary formulation that combines Vitamin E, Aloe, and other nutrients fortified with pure CBD in a blend with a 70% alcohol base. This exceeds the Center for Disease Control’s recommended alcohol potency for viral and bacterial defense and protection. While CBD is not a cure for the Coronavirus, its anti-bacteria, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory properties can assist and be very beneficial in the in the fight against this global pandemic.
Gregory Rotelli, Chairman of the Board and President of BioELife stated “We are very proud of our emerging virus and bacteria protection product line which was specifically designed to aid this worldwide crisis. Our Respilon masks are by far the most effective available due to their revolutionary Nano-Fiber Technology and our BioeDefense Sanitizer exceeds The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for viral and bacterial defense while being fortified with the beneficial proprieties of CBD. Most importantly, we are providing these critically important products on our ecommerce site, www.bioelife.net, at an attractive value point compared to less effective options being sold by our competitors at much higher price points.”
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements – Disclaimer: This press release contains statements, which may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of BioELife Corp. and members of their management and Board of Directors as well as the assumptions on which such statements are based. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-statements include fluctuation of operating results, the ability to compete successfully and the ability to complete before-mentioned transactions. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.”
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Co-Diagnostics, Inc. announced last week that following a recent change to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) policy towards the coronavirus outbreak, the Company’s coronavirus test kits are available to laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) for use according to the FDA guidelines. The Company is in discussions with certain qualified CLIA laboratories who can use COVID-19 tests built on Co-Diagnostics’ platform technology in their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) submissions with the FDA. Once the labs have completed the process required for the EUA submission, it is expected that they would purchase the Company’s reagents for use in their COVID-19 diagnostics, as permitted by the FDA. Dwight Egan, CEO of Co-Diagnostics, commented, “We believe this change will allow the diagnostics industry to respond to the developing situation much more rapidly and effectively, and we applaud the FDA for taking such aggressive action to address the coronavirus outbreak. Co-Diagnostics’ patented CoPrimer technology has been vetted in numerous applications by some of the most highly-respected firms focusing on molecular technology, and we are pleased to make this platform available domestically immediately to support the FDA’s mission to slow the spread of this disease and mitigate its impact.”
Aytu BioScience, Inc.announced yesterday that it signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the right to commercialize a clinically validated and commercially used coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) IgG/IgM Rapid Test. The test has been licensed from L.B. Resources, Limited (a Hong Kong Corporation), which licensed North American rights from product developer Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech Co., Ltd. The test is intended for professional use and delivers clinical results between 2 and 10 minutes at the point-of-care. This exclusive agreement grants Aytu the exclusive right to distribute the product in the United States for a period of three years, with additional three-year autorenewals thereafter. The COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test is a solid phase immunochromatographic assay used in the rapid, qualitative and differential detection of IgG and IgM antibodies to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in human whole blood, serum or plasma. This point-of-care test has been validated in a 113 patient clinical trial and has received CE marking. It is currently one of only a few tests used for coronavirus screening in China.
NanoViricides, Inc. confirmed earlier in January public disclosures in articles by various industry journals and other articles, that it is working on developing a treatment for the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, or the Wuhan coronavirus. “We have already initiated a program for developing a treatment for the 2019-nCOV,” said Anil R. Diwan, PhD, President and Executive Chairman of the Company, adding, “Our platform technology enables possibly the most rapid pathway for new drug development against viral diseases. Of course, we will need support from governmental and international agencies such as the US CDC, WHO, and Chinese CDC to successfully develop these treatments, and, if developed, to get them to the patients in the fastest possible time. At this time, the Company does not have a collaboration with any of these agencies, and we have not been contacted by any of these entities or asked to develop a treatment for this virus. We had collaborations with the CDC and USAMRIID in the past. The Company intends to pursue a relevant collaboration for testing of our drug candidates soon.” The new 2019-nCoV is known to be closely related to the SARS-CoV of 2002-2003 epidemic. In fact, it has been shown to use the same cell surface receptor as SARS-CoV, namely ACE2. “We have already found some lead candidate ligands in our chemical library that can bind to the SARS-CoV spike protein in the same fashion as it binds to the cognate receptor, ACE2, using molecular modeling tools,” explained Dr. Diwan, adding, “We believe this means we may already be significantly ahead in developing a potential treatment for the new Wuhan virus.”
Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. announced last week that it has initiated its Coronavirus program. “Following our acquisition of patent rights and know-how from KSURF and our recently completed financing, we are aggressively pursuing the development of novel antiviral compounds for the treatment of COVID-19 infections using our established proprietary drug discovery platform. Given the global threat of COVID1-9, our primary goal is to advance our Coronavirus program into preclinical development. We will seek opportunities for collaborations as we advance our programs,” stated Dr. Gary Wilcox, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cocrystal. Cocrystal recently entered into a license agreement with KSURF to further develop certain proprietary broad-spectrum antiviral compounds for humans to treat Norovirus and COVID-19 infections. Cocrystal intends to pursue research and development of theses antiviral compounds, including preclinical and clinical development. This license advances the Company’s antiviral programs significantly by providing potent compounds for further development.
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