Over the past week, novel coronavirus has dominated headlines as the infection continues to spread both in China and abroad. And it wasn’t even days into the crisis that several entities, including Novavax, announced that they’re already feverishly working on new vaccines for the disease.
The company recently announced that, because of its extensive history working with other types of coronavirus, including both M.E.R.S. and S.A.R.S., it has what it takes to tackle this one with ease.
“Using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle vaccine technology, the company expects to develop a vaccine candidate from the genetic sequence of the Wuhan coronavirus,” Novavax announced in a statement.
The news caused an almost instantaneous spike in Novavax’s share value, which surged an astounding 60 percent that same day.
Since that time, numerous other vaccine manufacturers have announced that they, too, are planning to develop their own vaccines for coronavirus.
One of these is Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is facing a criminal investigation over the presence of toxic asbestos in its talc-based baby powder products.
The biotech firms Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna are also entering the fray of trying to develop their own respective vaccines for this emerging viral threat, which as of this writing has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed at least 213 others, according to the official numbers.
Since it’s expensive to do this, especially for outbreaks that come and go – and perhaps never come back – each of these companies is reportedly relying on funding from non-profit groups as well as the government – meaning taxpayers.
Moderna, for instance, is receiving cash from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N.I.A.I.D.), as well as from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a nongovernmental organization (N.G.O.) funded by governments and private foundations.
“We are leveraging not our shareholders’ capital, but not-for-profit capital, in a way that’s nondilutive to the rest of our efforts,” says Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer.
Scientists in China are also working on a coronavirus vaccine, and are currently in the process of investigating how monoclonal antibodies, which were first developed for S.A.R.S, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, might be reused to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs for novel coronavirus.
These scientists have reportedly discovered an antibody that can be bound to the surface of novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, in order to neutralize it, which they hope will be able to tackle the disease sooner rather than later.
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The problem with trying to address outbreaks such as this one the conventional way – with vaccines and pharmaceuticals, rather than natural remedies like oregano oil – is that there’s a lengthy process for bringing drugs and jabs to market.
What this means is that none of this will be ready in time for the current outbreak – that is, unless pharmaceuticals and vaccines for novel coronavirus are rushed to market, as some reports are already indicating.
Clinical trials for one of the first vaccines are reportedly set for three months from now, the locations of which are yet to be determined.
“It took scientists 20 months to develop a S.A.R.S. vaccine to test on humans, but the N.I.H. (National Institutes of Health) hopes to have a vaccine ready for human trials by April,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
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