How 13 top drugmakers are sprinting to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment that can halt this pandemic

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Leading drugmakers are researching treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus.
The small biotech Moderna has been leading the vaccine race, and pharma giants like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and Merck have joined in as well.
There’s no guarantee vaccines will work. A vaccine might be available for emergency use by the fall, but likely won’t be available widely until 2021 at the earliest, top US health officials have said.
In the meantime, drug companies including Gilead Sciences have been looking to repurpose drugs in that effort.
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Drugmakers are racing to find treatments and vaccines to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

The companies — including giants like Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Merck, and Gilead Sciences — are taking a variety of approaches. Some are hunting for near-term treatment options, either by testing existing drugs or investigating new antivirals or antibodies. Others are developing vaccines aimed at preventing the virus.

Typically, developing a new treatment or vaccine can take years. But in the case of the pandemic, US health officials have been pushing speedy timelines. Several vaccine candidates have already started human testing, with early results showing signs of success.

There are more than 1,000 ongoing clinical trials and hundreds of drugs in development to potentially treat COVID-19. Many of these studies are on repurposed drugs that are now being tested as coronavirus treatments.

There’s more potential in companies crafting therapeutics and vaccines designed to fight this novel coronavirus.

Here’s how 13 leading drugmakers are taking on that challenge.

Gilead’s remdesivir has emerged as one of our best chances

The California biotech Gilead Sciences developed the antiviral drug remdesivir in 2009. It was previously tested in more than 100 Ebola patients during that outbreak.

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The drug has shown it can help coronavirus patients recover more quickly from the virus. Based on that data, the FDA on May 1 issued an emergency authorization for the drug’s use. While it’s not an approval, it could allow for more hospitalized patients to receive the drug. In July, Europe gave the drug a similar emergency OK.

Gilead released more data on the drug in June, though the results were mixed: remdesivir helped hospitalized patients with more moderate forms of COVID-19 recover more quickly when receiving the treatment for 5 days. The results were inconclusive, however, in moderately ill patients who received the treatment for 10 days.

For now, the drug is authorized to be given to severely ill hospitalized patients via an intravenous infusion over the course of a five- or 10-day period.

Gilead will charge up to $3,120 for a five-day treatment course of remdesivir, or up to $520 a vial. Governments, including the US government, will be charged less, $2,340 per treatment course, the company said.

Read more: The 3-decade rise of Gilead, from California startup to the biotech with the best chance yet at an effective coronavirus treatment

Moderna leads the vaccine race, eyeing potential emergency use in the fall

Moderna in …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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