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COVID-19 Update
May 13, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference today from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Johnston, IA at 11:00 a.m. to provide an update to the state of Iowa on COVID-19. That press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page and on YouTube.

According to coronavirus.iowa.gov, an additional 539 new positive cases have been reported for a total of 12,373 positive cases and 3,204 more negative tests were reported. 3,496 more have been tested for a total of 81,288 Iowans tested. There are 18 additional deaths and 271 total deaths. 385 patients are hospitalized and 5,618 have recovered. There are COVID-19 outbreaks in 32 of Iowa’s long-term care facilities, a number unchanged from Monday. 

Yesterday at her press conference, the Governor noted that 319 of the new reported cases came from delayed reporting from Iowans tested in Nebraska at the end of April, associated with a processing plant. Those case counts are included in these statistics, which accounts for the larger jump, she said.

Governor Reynolds did not announce new easing of restrictions as anticipated yesterday at her press conference. She said she continues to review data with the Iowa Department of Public Health and will use more time (her current order expires on the 15) to make decisions on managing resources. She will make the decision today (Wednesday), she said. The Governor highlighted expanded testing and announced the eighth Test Iowa site opening in Storm Lake this weekend. She said we need to adjust life accordingly so we can live, work, and play as we want, while managing virus activity.

Sarah Reisetter, Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, reported on the drug remdesivir, and said authorization by FDA has made remdesivir available for use on patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The drug has shown it can reduce recovery days in some patients. Iowa has 400 vials of remdesivir. Each patient needs 6-11 vials for treatment, Reisetter said. The 400 vials will be distributed by the State Hygienic Lab according to number of hospitalized and severe cases as well as patients to resources, among other factors. IDPH is consulting with infectious disease clinicians across the state, regarding the drug.

The Legislative Services Agency published an update on Iowa’s Small Business Relief Grant program. The report outlines the Iowa Economic Development Authority program to aid small businesses shut down or disrupted by COVID-19. The program initially had $4 million dollar state allocation and now will have a total of $124.5 million in resources from a combination of state and federal sources. IEDA reports approximately $66.6 million has already been awarded to 3,510 business. IEDA initially received nearly 14,000 applications from businesses for a total of more than $148.0 million.

Federal Actions
  • House Democrats released the text of the 1,815-page, $3 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) yesterday afternoon. The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here. Votes are expected in the House on Friday, though the leaders of the Progressive Caucus have written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for more time to read through the bill before they vote.
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos will be available upon request):
  • The CDC has updated and added sections to its COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines including a new section on antithrombotic therapy. 
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional documents on its dashboard. Yesterday, the CDC published, interim guidance on unsheltered homelessness and COVID-19 for homeless service providers and local officials, new information for pediatric healthcare providers, and an air travel toolkit for airline partners, and updated information about what to do if your pet tests positive for COVID-19. These are just a sampling of the many updates made each day by the CDC.
  • Monday, CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote a letter to nursing home management and staff, sharing her gratitude for the workers as well as reiterating that the Administration is doing all it can to support them.
  • The FDA provided an update on surveillance inspections during COVID-19. In the update, the agency stated it will continue to utilize and implement additional alternative inspection tools and approaches while postponing domestic and foreign routine surveillance inspections. This will continue as local, national, and international conditions warrant, with the exception of certain mission critical inspections. 
  • The FDA issued a warning letter to a company that was selling fraudulent COVID-19 products. Fusion Health and Vitality LLC recently offered products, including “CORE” and “IMMUNE SHOT,” for sale in the U.S. with claims that misleadingly represented the products as safe and/or effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. There are currently no FDA-approved products to prevent or treat COVID-19. 
  • To help homeowners and renters have the most up to date and accurate housing assistance information, the CFPB, FHFA, and HUD launched the new mortgage and housing assistance website, cfpb.gov/housing. FHFA and HUD are offering CARES Act assistance and protection for Americans having trouble paying their mortgage or rent due to COVID-19. This joint website consolidates the CARES Act mortgage relief, protections for renters, resources for additional help, and information on how to avoid COVID-19 related scams. It also provides lookup tools for homeowners to determine if their mortgage is federally backed, and for renters to find out if their rental unit is financed by FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,342,594 total cases and 80,820 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • Health officials in New York state are looking into approximately 100 cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS), which causes life-threatening inflammation in critical organs. The illness is certainly not limited to New York state, and has been identified throughout the region and across the country.
  • Store customers in California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have been arrested for refusing to follow guidelines mandating that they wear masks in public. 
  • As states have begun to ease restrictions, a main COVID-19 model is now predicting nearly 150,000 deaths in the U.S., an increase of 10,000 from estimates this weekend. 
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) gave an updated timeline for when the state will begin to reopen, mostly on May 25th.
    • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued an executive order allowing specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay entering phase one of the "Forward Virginia" plan until May 28th. The whole state is expected to enter phase one on Friday, May 15th.
    • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has allowed Wahkiakum, Skamania, and Stevens counties to move into phase two of Gov. Inslee's Safe Start plan to reopen the economy and recreation. This brings the total to eight counties.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced additional phase one guidelines that will allow gyms and fitness studios, movie theaters, and museums the option to reopen beginning this Friday, so long as they adhere to strict guidelines limiting capacity, requiring social distancing, and imposing thorough sanitation requirements.
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced today that seven counties in the central part of the state would be placed under strict measures due to increased rates of COVID-19.  
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
    • Finally, this site offers COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing and can be broken down by state.
International Affairs
  • Countries around the world have seen increases in numbers of reported cases as they ease social distancing restrictions. 
  • The UK will begin reopening tomorrow with Step 1 of its three phase plan. Most restrictions will remain in place, but a few will be eased. 
  • Russia is now reporting the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the U.S. They now have over 232,000 cases.
  • Iceland is anticipated to lift travel restrictions in mid-June. Travelers are expected to have to choose between taking a COVID-19 test or quarantining for two weeks once arriving. 
  • The Canadian government is looking at administering questionnaires, using contact tracing apps, taking temperatures, and performing medical history checks on individuals who enter the country from the U.S. 
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $260 billion economic rescue package, but did not provide many details beyond that it would help all classes of business, from farms and laborers to big companies. 
  • Following the emergence of a new cluster of cases in Wuhan, China, all residents have been ordered to get tested for COVID-19 in the next 10 days. 
  • In Uruguay, crew members from the COVID-19-infected cruise ship "Greg Mortimer" have been allowed to disembark after almost two months at sea. More than half of the 60 crew members have tested positive. 
  • Global Cases:  4,278,180         Total Deaths:  292,376
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • The S&P 500 dropped 2 percent today as reports from around the world came in about new spikes of cases in countries easing social distancing restrictions. 
  • California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, said that classes at its 23 campuses would be canceled for the fall semester, with instruction taking place almost exclusively online.
  • California’s system of community colleges has sued the Department of Education in an effort to overturn guidelines issued by Sec. Betsy DeVos that would deny COVID-19 relief funds to undocumented students, including Dreamers. 
  • In Tennessee, the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex highlights the elevated transmission risk of COVID-19 in correctional facilities and surrounding communities. The prison has recently reported approximately 600 COVID-19 cases among both prisoners and staff.
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) announced $384 million in additional funding to support a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax.
  • Gilead has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based in India and Pakistan to further expand supply of remdesivir. The agreements allow the companies – Cipla Ltd., Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences and Mylan – to manufacture remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries. The countries consist of nearly all low-income and lower-middle income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries that face significant obstacles to healthcare access.
  • Several sports leagues have announced their reopening dates and plans. NASCAR will resume on May 17th at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with no fans present. Major League Baseball has reportedly reached a deal to begin the delayed 2020 season in July.
  • While some cruise ships remain at sea, with passengers and crew stuck onboard, Carnival Cruise Line announced it intends to resume services on select cruise routes starting August 1st.
  • Patagonia was one of the first major companies to close all of its stores back in March, and they've recently announced they could be one of the last to reopen. Representatives said Patagonia likely will not reopen any in-store shopping locations until June at the earliest, but it could also be as late as fall or early winter. 
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
Featured Resources

If you’re in need of some good news and some good data this morning, this is the resource for you!

BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has reviewed and annotated pipeline data from BioCentury and Biomedtracker to create an interactive view of the Covid-19 pipeline. Click here to review interactive data.

The team has investigated each drug as to original inventor (company/country), mechanism of action, and strategic approach, as well as de-duplicated programs for the same active ingredient (for example, hydroxychloroquine is counted only once). This data will be updated weekly on Monday mornings.

Overall, the data shows two key things:
  • Biopharma companies - particularly small biotech companies - are undertaking a monumental campaign to combat, and hopefully eradicate, Covid-19. 
  • Innovation is being led by U.S.-based companies.
The data today shows 430 unique compounds are in development:
  • 100 vaccines
  • 135 anti virals
  • 195 treatments
Helpful Articles/Media
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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