Coronavirus drugmakers race for treatments, vaccines

Pharma companies working to have vaccine by November

President Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee his coronavirus task force Wednesday evening while stressing the "risk remains low" to Americans at this time.

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In the latest, World Health Organization report, the coronavirus outbreak has left 80,239 people worldwide sick and killed 2,700. Tuesday, the acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf appeared on capitol hill, to give a Senate subcommittee hearing on the 2021 DHS budget in which he was asked a series of questions about the United States preparation for the virus and when a vaccine will be available.

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Wolf said, that the U.S. is a few months away from developing a vaccine for the virus.

On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, during an appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, said the U.S. would likely see more cases.

“The president has insisted on radical transparency. That's what CDC and NIH we're doing today is making sure that the American public know we've aggressively contained this. For the moment. But given what's happening in the world, well, we'll probably see more cases here. We'll probably see communities spread of the disease, but we actually have the tools to deal with that.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they're 53 confirmed U.S. cases, including 44 Americans who contracted the disease aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and were flown back to the states to be quarantined and treated.

As the disease continues to blaze a deadly path, drugmakers are working around the clock for a cure.

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FOX Business takes a look at the companies racing to make a vaccine:

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MRNAMODERNA INC.34.84+1.64+4.94%

Moderna

It was reported earlier this week, that Masschuettes-based biotech company, Moderna, released an experimental vaccine for the virus that it has been released to officials at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The vaccine will go through a round of testing and comparing before it will be discharged to the public. It is not entirely clear how long that will take.

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GILDGILEAD SCIENCES INC.78.21+1.23+1.60%

Gilead  

California-based biotech company, Gilead, announced on Wednesday it will be initiating "two Phase 3 clinical studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). The program will enroll 1,000 patients across Asia starting in March."

The drug remdesivir was used to treat symptoms of the Ebola virus.

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NVAXNOVAVAX INC.15.61+1.75+12.63%

Novavax

Earlier this month Novavax, announced they would spend the next three months creating a vaccine for the virus, slicing through the estimated 3-year timeline the vaccine typically takes. The Maryland based clinical vaccine company, president, Gregory Glenn explained on a Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP that they will use a coronavirus gene to model the current outbreak's vaccine. He added that the team is working "24/7" to make it happen before November. The goal is for Novavax and five other companies to combine for 150 million doses of the vaccine.

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AIMAIM IMMUNOTECH2.73+0.08+3.02%

AIM Immunotech

AIM Immunotech, started its development of a coronavirus vaccine earlier this month with its Ampligen which was used to treat SARS in animals. The Florida based immuno-pharmacy company quickly moved to file three patent applications for Ampligen so that it can be used as a therapy for coronavirus internationally. Ampligen is a prophylactic and protective drug that was rated a perfect 100 survival rate when animals received human dosages for SARS.

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FOX Business' Evie Fordham, Blair Shiff and Shawn M. Carter contributed to this report.