I applaud all of the businesses who are now attempting to reopen by evolving their businesses on the fly. It’s commendable, and brave and ingenious. Unfortunately, it’s too late and too small to give us a recovery back to the 2019 economy any time soon. You can’t operate a restaurant or a catering hall or a manufacturing plant or a beach club or a resort hotel or a casino or a conference business at half capacity – with plexiglass everywhere and increased health screening – and expect to ever make any money. It may keep the lights on but it’s not going to help in a substantial way and many businesses don’t even have the resources to attempt it.
We are not getting our lives back until there’s a vaccine. I’m sorry, but it’s just very obvious to me and I can’t imagine anything happening between now and then that will change my mind.
This weekend’s Barron’s took a look at the various publicly traded pharma and biotech companies that are in search of a vaccine for COVID-19. The magazine notes that there are over 100 different programs currently running worldwide and that most will not end up being successful. If you’re an investor, a business person or really anyone with a vested interest in knowing when the world will get back to normal, then understanding the vaccine development timeline is essential. It’s really the only solution to the problems we face this year and beyond.
Barron’s breaks the vaccine companies into two camps – tortoises and hares…
Covid-19 vaccine programs generally follow one of two broad strategies. Some have picked new, relatively unproven vaccine technologies that promise extraordinary speed.
Call them the hares: They include Moderna and Pfizer, which say they could have a small number of doses available for emergency workers and high-risk groups as early as this fall. J&J, which is also using a newer technology, is aiming for early next year.
Others are using more proven methods that will be slower to come to market. The giant tortoise here is the collaboration between Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. The partnership is employing a well-established technology that Sanofi uses in a flu vaccine, but a product won’t be ready until next summer.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, they’re discussing that fact that several vaccine producers are already separating themselves from the pack as the likely winners, and putting millions of doses into production immediately, without waiting for the traditional steps toward approval. This is unheard of, has never been done before. In some cases there are already questions about whether or not drug makers backed by American financing must put Americans first when the doses are ready – before, say, first responders in international hot spots.
In this post, I collect some of the most informative videos I’ve been able to find on the hare approach mRNA. Companies like Pfizer and Moderna are telling health experts and the public that they fully expect to have a vaccine ready for emergency approval by this fall. They are both making use of something called mRNA technology, which works with the body’s own protein manufacturing ability to teach the immune system about the potential threat of COVID-19 in advance of its invasion. Harnessing and augmenting the body’s own immune system response in order to beat back viral infections could be a once-in-a-generation breakthrough for drug discovery. Some of the best biotech and pharmaceutical scientists on earth are betting big on it being the answer to protecting millions from this disease and stopping its spread forever.
Here are some videos to watch to learn more. You can hit the link below to read the Barron’s piece ands the WSJ piece too.
Moderna has released the first batch of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine for phase 1 trial. Before a drug (and vaccine) is launched and marketed public use, it has to undergo rigorous testing.
Andrew Lo of MIT – A public lecture and fireside chat with Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, the company which produced a batch of COVID-19 vaccines ready for clinical trials – from sequence identification through vaccine design and manufacturing to the first patient tested – in just 63 days.
Pfizer’s research and development facility in Chesterfield will help produce a potential vaccine for COVID-19.
“It is our sincere belief to beat this pandemic, it will take science and creativity along with the determined will of passionate researchers,” said Pfizer Vice President Christine Smith, the head of the Chesterfield location.
Researchers at the NIH and ModeRNA are using messenger RNA (or mRNA) to teach your body’s immune cells important features of the new coronavirus, specifically the spike proteins that are used by the virus to interact with the ACE-2 receptors on host cells during infection. By administering mRNA to an antigen presenting cell (APC), your body’s immune system may be able to better recognize and block the coronavirus to protect from COVID-19. Two Phase 1 clinical trials are currently underway to demonstrate this new drug’s safety.
COVID-19 Symposium: Nucleoside-modified mRNA Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2 | Dr. Norbert Pardi
Dr. Geall will walk us through the history and commercial mRNA vaccine landscape, the background to the SAM (self-amplifying mRNA) vaccine platform and non-viral delivery. He will also discuss preclinical data of the application in pandemic influenza, and the translation from research into development.
RNA-based Drugs Including Delivery of Antibodies and Vaccines Using mRNA – Drew Weissman
Scientific Symposium from the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy’s 22nd Annual Meeting
Have you come across anything else worth watching on mRNA technology? Share it with me here!