Trump pressures pharma companies to expedite coronavirus vaccine

Companies say they have the capacity to produce large doses of a drug once it has been approved

President Trump met with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on Monday about the timeline of a coronavirus vaccine as the virus continues to spread and fatalities rise across the globe.

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During the meeting, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the key issues being worked through right now are how to accelerate a vaccine and how to speed up the supply chain.

When it comes to timing, companies – who had drugs in different clinical testing phases – said they planned to work together to produce treatments.

Trump noted that it’s likely therapies would be available before a true vaccine.

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CureVac told Trump it could potentially have a vaccine ready for phase one trials by June. Once completed, it says it has the capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses.

Executives from Sanofi said it could produce as many as 600 million doses of a potential vaccine per year – without jeopardizing production of the flu vaccine. The company thinks it could have a product ready for clinic in one year – though finalization could take several years depending on help from federal agencies.

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New York-based Regeneron said it could have a capacity of 200,000 doses per month starting as soon as August.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences said Monday it planned to test an antiviral drug – known as Remdesivir – in Washington state. Clinical trials are already underway in China.

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News of the meeting sent stocks higher on the heels of the market’s worst week since the financial crisis.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GOLDBARRICK GOLD CORP.24+0.05+0.21%
REGNREGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS INC.612.81+34.60+5.98%
SNYSANOFI S.A.49.11+0.43+0.88%
PFEPFIZER INC.38.19+0.01+0.03%

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading expert on coronavirus, said a vaccine is likely at least a year away.

Trump noted he wanted medications to be made in the U.S.

The president also said the White House task force is meeting daily and working closely with governors.

As of Monday, there were more than 89,000 individual cases across the globe and more than 3,000 confirmed deaths.

In the U.S., there are at least 80 confirmed cases – and six deaths, all in the state of Washington.

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FOX Business’ Blake Burman contributed to this report.