What We’re Reading: Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded; Improving Diabetes Management; COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Still on Hold

October 7, 2020

Two women are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for CRISPR; Eli Lilly partners with DexCom, Inc; the US arm of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine trial remains halted.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded for Discovery of CRISPR

Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of CRISPR gene editing technology. CRISPR involves removing problematic DNA through the use of RNA as its guide molecule and replacing it, if necessary, with healthy DNA. Diseases that hope to be cured with CRISPR genetic therapies include hemophilia, type 1 diabetes, and Rett syndrome. A patent dispute is ongoing, however, for CRISPR, between Doudna and Charpentier and Feng Zhang, PhD, Broad Institute, who many believe also deserves credit for his work in this space.

Eli Lilly, DexCom Partner to Provide Real-time Data for Improved Diabetes Management

The new program aims to enhance the ability of health care providers to better manage their patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes, according to the press release from Eli Lilly, through the use of the Dexcom G6 or Dexcom G6 Pro continuous glucose monitoring system. A main focus of this joint effort between Eli Lilly and DexCom is management of postprandial glucose levels (that following meals), which the release calls “a significant contributor to A1C [glycated hemoglobin],” for which Lilly’s new rapid-acting mealtime insulin, Lyumjev (insulin lispro-aabc) is now available. Most private insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid in many states, cover the Dexcom G6.

AstraZeneca Phase 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Trial at a Standstill

The phase 3 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine trial, jointly led by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which was first halted in early September, remains on hold, but only in the United States, reported STAT. Patients have so far only received their first dose of the potential vaccine (or a saline placebo) through the double-blinded trial; a booster shot was supposed to be administered 4 weeks later, but the trial timeline is still unclear so that has not happened as of yet. AstraZeneca has not commented on how it will handle the participants who can’t get their second dose, although data on everyone who has been administered at least the first dose will be included in the full analysis set.