18 August.

The US Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) has awarded $750,000 to Plasma Technologies to produce convalescent plasma products in support of the US Covid-19 response. The company’s patented novel plasma separation process helps produce higher yields of immunoglobulin and other plasma proteins. The funding will be used by the company to establish a proof of concept of activities on a larger scale and develop a novel process to manufacture higher-yielding anti-Covid-19 immune serum.

A C-130 military aircraft of the US Department of Defense (DOD) has delivered personal protective equipment to the South African National Department of Health (NDoH). The $340,000 equipment includes masks, gloves, medical gowns, and sanitising supplies for front-line health workers in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) is also assisting with the setting up of handwashing stations in South Africa. The $225,000 initiative will see the stations established in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal.

A team from US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and University of Illinois researchers are testing a novel ACE2 decoy receptor that could be used to treat or prevent Covid-19 and associate coronavirus diseases. The decoy receptor has been engineered by Dr Erik Procko and scientists from the university. As per research published online in the journal SCIENCE, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a specific protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to enter and infect the cells. During tests, it was found “that the decoy receptor has potent neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2”. Further research will be conducted to help lead to Covid-19 therapeutic.

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