Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud (Athens, 04.01.2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will welcome in Athens tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4, his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud.

There will be a private meeting of the two Ministers at 12:00, followed by expanded talks and a working lunch.

Joint statements to the Press are expected to take place at 13:30.

This visit, which is the second by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia in Athens in less than a year (he had previously participated in the Philia Forum in February 2021) follows the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, together with the Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos, to Saudi Arabia last April and of course the Prime Minister’s visit last October.

Talks are expected to focus on bilateral relations in the fields of defence, the economy and investments, as well as on cooperation within international organizations.

Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region are also expected to be thoroughly examined.

Ascletis Expands Ritonavir Oral Tablet Production and Announces Oral Direct-Acting Antiviral Pipeline Against SARS-CoV-2 Virus

– Ritonavir oral tablet annual production capacity has been expanded to 100 million tablets and can be further rapidly expanded based on market demand

– ASC10 is an oral direct-acting antiviral drug candidate targeting RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection

– ASC11 is an oral direct-acting antiviral drug candidate targeting 3-chymotrypsin like protease (3CLpro), combined with ritonavir oral tablets, to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection

HANGZHOU and SHAOXING, China, Jan. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Ascletis Pharma Inc. (HKEX: 1672) today announces the expansion of the production of ritonavir oral tablets and oral direct-acting antiviral R&D pipeline for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Company’s COVID-19 pipeline currently includes (i) ritonavir oral tablet (100mg), an authorized product, (ii) ASC10, an oral RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) inhibitor and (iii) ASC11, an oral 3-chymotrypsin like protease (3CLpro) inhibitor.

The Company owns the only authorized ritonavir oral tablet in China, which passed bioequivalence study. The Company’s ritonavir oral tablet was approved in September, 2021 by China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). As a pharmacokinetic booster of multiple antiviral protease inhibitors, a low dose ritonavir oral tablet (100mg) is a component of oral direct-acting antiviral drug Paxlovid (Nirmatrelvir+ritonavir). The Company applied the sophisticated formulation technology to significantly increase the human bioavailability of ritonavir which has a very poor solubility and successfully achieved human bioequivalence with the ritonavir oral tablets produced by the Originator, AbbVie. The Company is planning to file generic drug applications for registrations in multiple countries in the world. Ritonavir oral tablet annual production capacity has been expanded to 100 million tablets and can be further rapidly expanded based on market demand.

ASC10 is an oral direct-acting antiviral drug candidate targeting RdRp. In vitro data showed significant activity against SARS-CoV-2. ASC10 is an in-house discovered drug candidate with the global intellectual property and commercial rights. Compared to RdRp-targeted Molnupiravir which was approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ASC10 has a new and differentiated chemical structure. The Company has filed multiple compound and use patent applications. The data from animal studies demonstrated that ASC10 has higher bioavailability when compared to Molnupiravir. The Company plans to submit investigational drug applications (INDs) for clinical trials in China, USA etc. in the first half of 2022.

ASC11 is an oral direct-acting antiviral drug candidate targeting 3CLpro, in combination with the authorized ritonavir oral tablets produced by the Company, to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection. ASC11 is an in-house discovered drug candidate with the global intellectual property and commercial rights. Compared to 3CLpro-targeted Nirmatrelvir which was approved by US FDA, ASC11 has a new and differentiated chemical structure. The Company has filed the compound and use patent applications. The Company plans to submit INDs for clinical trials in China, USA etc. in the second half of 2022. The Company has extensive R&D experience in viral protease inhibitors and successfully developed and commercialized oral HCV protease inhibitor GANOVO® in combination with ritonavir oral tablets for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

“At the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020, based on its antiviral platform and R&D experience, the Company made the firm and rapid decision to invest in oral direct-acting antivirals R&D against RdRp and 3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, the Company accelerated the development effort to obtain the approval of ritonavir oral tablets in China and successfully achieved the authorization by China NMPA for ritonavir oral tablets,” said Dr. Jinzi J. Wu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ascletis, “The Company has tremendous experience in antiviral oral protease inhibitors and successfully developed the fixed-dose combination ASC09F (ASC09+ritonavir) to treat HIV infection, in addition to launching GANOVO®/Ritonavir combination for chronic hepatits C.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC At A Glance – 30 November 2021

Highlights

1. The DRC is the country with the largest internally displaced population in Africa

2. DRC hosts over 0.5 M refugees and asylum seekers

3. Lack of a proper civil registration system puts many at risk of statelessness in DRC. UNHCR joins the United Nations Legal Identity Program to help the DRC government put in place a strong registration system that is inclusive for all types of populations, ensuring that no one is left behind

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Premier Alan Winde on fire at Parliament

“Western Cape Government salutes City of Cape Town firefighters for quick response to fire at Parliament”

The devastating fire on the Parliamentary Precinct is extremely upsetting. No stone must be left unturned in determining the cause of the fire, with the findings of a full investigation being made public so that this terrible incident is prevented in the future.

The National Parliament, housed in Cape Town, is not just a series of buildings. It is the home of our democracy, which we must care for and protect.

I visited the precinct yesterday with President Cyril Ramaphosa, and I echo his praise for the City of Cape Town. The City’s firefighters acted with speed and professionalism and helped get the situation under control. We salute these frontline officers for their bravery.

We have also let the President and the Presiding Officers of Parliament know that the Western Cape Government is ready to assist however possible to ensure that the State of the Nation Address continues as planned in Cape Town. I welcome and support the proactive stance taken by Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, in offering city assets for this purpose.

It is important that we come together during difficult times in defense and promotion of our hard-won Constitutional Democracy.

Source: Government of South Africa

Sudan’s PM Resigns Amid Stalemate Between Military and Civilian Leaders

Sudan was plunged into further political turmoil Sunday when Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, citing his failure to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.

In a televised speech, Hamdok said he did everything possible to keep the African nation from “sliding into disaster” and provide “security, peace, justice and an end to bloodshed.” He said it was time for someone else to lead the transition into a “civilian democratic country.”

Hamdok’s resignation Sunday came more than a month after he was reinstated as prime minister after being overthrown by the military in October. He had returned to office after reaching an agreement with the military to keep Sudan on a path towards planned elections in 2023.

An economist and former United Nations official, Hamdok was picked to lead the transitional government formed after the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 amid a popular uprising against his longtime autocratic rule. The transitional government was formed under a power sharing agreement between the military and a civilian coalition that was to govern Sudan until the 2023 elections.

The protests that led to President al-Bashir’s ouster flared up again after the military removed Hamdok from office on October 25, and continued even after the November agreement signed by Hamdok and military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The military has responded with force, using tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrations.

The pro-democracy Sudan Doctors Committee said three people were killed Sunday in a clash between military forces and protesters before Hamdok’s resignation speech, raising the death toll since the October coup to 57, with hundreds more wounded.

The U.N. has also revealed allegations of recent sexual violence committed by security forces against female protesters, including gang rape.

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs issued a statement on its Twitter page after Hamdok resigned urging Sudanese leaders to “set aside differences, find consensus, and ensure continued civilian rule. Sudan’s next PM and cabinet should be appointed in line with the constitutional declaration to meet the people’s goals of freedom, peace, and justice.”

The bureau also said that the United States “continues to stand with the people of Sudan as they push for democracy” and called on authorities to end the crackdown saying “violence against protestors must cease.”

Source: Voice of America