26 August

The Australian Government has announced a $1bn AUD package to boost the country’s defence industry which is doing tough due to Covid-19. The investment package is intended to aid several small and medium-sized businesses in the defence-industry supply chain and accelerate defence projects nationwide. It will also support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists, personnel and their families by increasing the employment opportunities. Around 4,000 jobs are expected to be created across the country.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has committed to providing an initial 2,000 troops to perform Covid-19 contact tracing as the country deals with a resurgence of Covid-19. The soldiers are trained in contact tracing and will help the 17 regional administrations fight the pandemic. In a televised statement, Sánchez was quoted by AP as saying: “There should be no fear that paralyzes us and prevents us from acting. What’s needed is a stronger response to the threat.”

Partner Therapeutics (PTx) has enrolled the first patient in the iLeukPulm Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate inhaled Leukine in hospitalised Covid-19 patients with acute hypoxemia. Leukine (sargramostim) is a recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (rhuGM-CSF). The study is supported by the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) with $35m in funding. The DOD investment is to advance the development and emergency use of Leukine for Covid-19 treatment. iLeukPulm is designed to evaluate the use of sargramostim in Covid-19.