COVID-19 has killed over 1.2 million people worldwide and infected over 50 million others with those figures likely growing.
But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, after 10 months of watching and waiting, one vaccine has emerged as the front runner amidst the dozens of candidates in global clinical trials. On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced blockbuster progress as preliminary data showed their proprietary vaccine candidate to be "90% effective” in preventing the disease.
PFIZER'S COVID-19 VACCINE: WHAT TO KNOW
Pfizer expects to be able to supply 50 million doses in 2020 and manufacture up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. The U.S. and European Union are first in line for initial doses, with assurances the vaccine will be distributed fairly, and in order of regulatory approval. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters, "pending FDA authorization as Pfizer distribution for the US can start in increments of about 20 million doses per month, potentially beginning in late November."
In July, The Trump Administration announced a $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer/BioNTech to secure 100 million doses of the vaccine, pending regulatory approval. Other countries rapidly followed suit reserving doses for their respective populations. So far, the U.S. is the only country to make public the details of their purchase agreement and cost per dose.
100M doses for $1.95B
With the option for 500M more - cost remain negotiable
200M initial doses, option for 100M more
Hong Kong & Macau
Up to 10M doses
*Doses not disclosed
Pfizer and BioNTech also have undisclosed agreements with nine additional countries, subject to clinical success and regulatory approval.
Beyond COVID-19 vaccines, Americans with ‘mild to moderate’ cases now have a therapeutic to ease complications from the coronavirus.
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The Federal Drug administration gave Eli Lilly’s antibody, Bamlanivimab, the green light for emergency use in an outpatient setting. The Trump Administration secured 300,000 vials (a 2-month of supply) for $375 million, with the option to purchase 650,000 additional doses at $812 million.
The FDA issued strict guidelines for the drug, prohibiting use in hospitalized patients and requiring Bamlanivimab to be administered by supervised IV.
Janet Woodcock, Therapeutics Lead for Operation Warp Speed, told reporters, “The drugs should not be used in hospitalized patients. We don't have any data that would show that this would be helpful. This drug is given by IV infusion over an hour with another hour of observation of the patient required afterward.
Azar also noted the Lilly therapeutic could be administered as early as this week, "There are over, 80,000 doses available for allocation and distribution this week, and we'll be working with state, local, and territorial health departments, so that patients can receive the infusion in hospitals, outpatient clinics or alternate care settings. "
The secretary added that the government "will be allocating the distributions of the drug based on state and territory share of the country's total number of confirmed COVID-19 patients, and the total number of confirmed hospitalized patients in a given week.”