Biography for Amirah Al Idrus
Amirah Al Idrus, Copy Editor
Amirah Al Idrus is a copy editor for the FierceMarkets Life Sciences group and a contributing writer for FierceVaccines. Before joining the Fierce Life Sciences team, Amirah completed a master's degree in journalism at the University of Maryland, where she concentrated in multimedia journalism. While at Maryland, she worked for the university's Capital News Service as a web developer, and interned at the Washington Business Journal. She has covered issues ranging from Maryland politics and policy to prison finance. You can email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @AmirahFierce
Articles by Amirah Al Idrus
Several players are working on vaccines for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including the NIH and tandem GeneOne and Inovio, both of which had successful animal trials for their candidates. Now, a new study out of South Korea--showing that the MERS virus mutated during the outbreak--could help vaccine developers pinpoint their target on the surface of the MERS virus.
Scientists have created the first 3-D "map" of a protein used by malaria parasites to invade human blood cells. This could lead to the development of a vaccine that could attack the most widespread species of the parasite.
With flu season in full swing, Mitsubishi Tanabe has its eyes on the horizon as it aims to get its quick-to-produce, tobacco-based flu vaccine on the market by 2018 or 2019. Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday that the Osaka-based company has "all but finished" safety and efficacy trials of the vaccine in the U.S. and Canada and plans to run late-stage trials by the end of the year.
While it doesn't yet market any products, Inovio continues to be the Zika vaccine front-runner, reporting that its experimental jab induced a "robust and durable" immune response in mice.
Three months after teaming up with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Inovio and GeneOne are kicking off Phase I trials of its MERS vaccine. The biotechs joined forces with Walter Reed in November to conduct Phase I trials, citing the disease as an "emergent global health concern." MERS has killed nearly 600 and infected 1,650 people since it emerged in 2012.
Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova announced that an Ebola vaccine developed in that country did well in Phase I and II trials, and will enter further testing in Guinea, Agence France-Presse reported.
GlaxoSmithKline's flu vaccines, Fluarix and FluLaval, are both egg-based and can take months to produce each year. Now, the company has signed a pair of research deals, one of which would allow it to make cell-based vaccines, which are more efficient to manufacture.
As the Zika virus continues to spread, more biotechs are announcing their Zika vaccine programs. Meriden, CT-based Protein Sciences, Atlanta-based GeoVax Labs and Redwood City, CA-based PaxVax are the latest. PaxVax plans to bring its candidate to animal trials during the first half of this year, CEO Nima Farzan told FierceVaccines.
Cambridge, MA-based Affinivax launched in November 2014 with a $4 million Gates Foundation investment and plans to develop a pneumococcal vaccine that it believes could go beyond Prevnar, the best-selling vaccine in the world. Now, the biotech is announcing $2.5 million in follow-on funding from the Gates Foundation, which it will use to advance its lead candidate, CEO Steve Brugger told FierceVaccines.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a new drug that could help in vaccine development. It activates the innate immune system in a novel way.