U.S. nears 7M coronavirus cases, big pharmaceutical companies race for a vaccine

(Yahoo Finance) – The U.S. is inching closer to hitting 7 million coronavirus cases as Midwest states like Wisconsin, Montana and South Dakota see an uptick. This comes as big pharmaceutical companies race to find a vaccine. Yahoo Finance’s Anjalee Khemlani joins The First Trade with Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss that and what pharmaceutical companies are close to reaching final stages of coronavirus vaccine trials.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The US is inching closer to hitting seven million coronavirus cases, as Midwest states like Wisconsin, Montana, and South Dakota see an uptick. This comes as big pharma companies race to find a vaccine. Now Novavax is the latest to give investors some high hopes as it enters the final stage of vaccine trials. Yahoo Finance health care reporter, Anjalee Khemlani, joining us now. So Anjalee, where does Novavax stand at the moment with its trial?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Yeah, thanks Alexis. So Novavax announced yesterday, late yesterday, that it is going to be starting its Phase 3 trial in the UK. And so that is promising. It makes it one of the front runners, if you will, at least starting into Phase 3 by the end of this year. But we’re not quite sure when it will start in the US. The earliest is October, but when in October we don’t know.

But it is going to be sort of behind a number of other players that we’re expecting to hear from in October, including Moderna and Pfizer. So as we know, those two are expecting their readouts of their vaccine by the end of November, early– sorry, end of October, early November. Meanwhile, we know Johnson and Johnson just recently entered Phase 3 trials, too. So that gives you really good number of candidates in the running.

– And Anjalee, I know you continue to track potential treatments. Vaccines, potential vaccines, are getting a lot of attention, but what’s the latest on the treatment front?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Right. So what we’ve seen is that, increasingly, antibody treatments are getting a lot of attention. At the very beginning of the outbreak, there was a lot of focus on things like antivirals, rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and just sort of repurposing existing drugs to treat this and see if they have any effect at all. So what we know now, of course, is that there’s dexamethasone and other corticosteroids that are being used, as well as remdesivir in the hospitals that has proven to be effective. But we haven’t really heard of much else.

And so I had an interesting call actually yesterday with one of the CEOs of a company that’s testing an antiviral that’s used to treat tapeworm infections. And they were discussing how it seems like because there is so much energy, enthusiasm, funding, as well behind these large pharma companies that are doing the antibody treatments, there are less participants available to really push these other trials ahead. And so I guess we’re going to be sort of facing that where they may just drop off the map entirely, as some of these others get pushed forward.

So it’ll be interesting to see and watch, but definitely still keeping focused on that, even though there is so much enthusiasm and fervor around vaccines. We’re looking to hear a little bit more about some treatments as well.

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