Coronavirus has already claimed the lives of many people. At least 16,703 people in the U.S. have died. In Spain, this number is 15,843. In France, the death toll is 12,210. The statistics are dismaying. We need the vaccine as soon as possible.
Coronavirus pandemic seems to be gaining further momentum. According to the latest data, the number of COVID-19 cases globally makes up more than 1,617,204 as of today, with 466,299 of them confirmed in the U.S. Notably, New York state has most of the cases. With 161,807 infected, it surpasses Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. New York City itself is now the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
The situation in other countries is no better. For example, in England, the number of deaths from coronavirus rose by 866 in the past 24 hours. The whole country is distressed for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, he was moved to intensive care as his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. Yesterday, there appeared reports about improving his condition. Johnson left the intensive care unit (ICU) of a London hospital but he will be closely monitored until the full recovery.
Companies Started the Race for Coronavirus Vaccine
Coronavirus has already claimed the lives of many people. At least 16,703 people in the U.S. have died. In Spain, this number is 15,843. 18,279 people have died in Italy. In France, the death toll is 12,210. The statistics are dismaying.
In this startling situation, we need to find the treatment as soon as possible. And there are already at least 20 companies that are participating in the race for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The leader of the race is Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) that started a clinical trial of the vaccine on March 16. After the announcement, its stock soared. The upgrading did not last long, as other biotech companies approached the testing stage. Yesterday, Moderna stock dropped by 1.73% to close at $31.86.
Moderna’s rival Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) announced on April 6 it was ready for phase 1 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine on 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia, PA and Kansas City, MO. But the company’s stock is also down, it plunged yesterday by 2.4% to $8.12.
Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) is currently testing Remdesivir as a treatment for mild-to-moderate forms of the virus in Wuhan. Remdesivir is a nucleotide analog that initially was a treatment for the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Gilead Sciences believes the drug is potentially applicable as a COVID-19 treatment. On April 9, Gilead said it would evaluate Remdesivir in 1,600 patients with moderate COVID-19 and in 2,400 patients with severe COVID-19.
Gilead stock lost 1.97% yesterday, closing at $73.51.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has announced the human trial of its vaccine will begin in September and will be ready for emergency use authorization at the beginning of next year. Besides, the company pledged over $1 billion of investment in partnership with the federal Advanced Research and Development Authority. The fund will co-fund research for the drug with the department of health and human services.
Following the news, Johnson & Johnson stock soared. But yesterday, it slightly tanked by 1.42% to $141.23.
One more company involved in developing the COVID-19 vaccine is Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX). The company has recently identified its vaccine candidate and is planning to begin human trials in Australia in mid-May. Notably, the firm received $4 billion from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) to pump the vaccine development.
Novavax shares tanked by 0.76% on April 9, to close at $17.05.
CytoDyn Inc (NASDAQ: CYDY) focuses on developing innovative treatments for multiple therapeutic indications based on Leronlimab (PRO 140). On March 31, the company said its drug was awarded fast-track approval status by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is already being investigated in phase two clinical trials.
Notably, CytoDyn stock soared has soared 180.0% year-to-date. It closed 3.60% up yesterday, at 2.88.
Australian regenerative medicine company is participating in the race as well. It said on Wednesday it started a 240-patient clinical trial, supported by the National Institutes of Health. Mesoblast Ltd (ASX: MSB) is testing whether cells derived from bone marrow can help patients with a deadly immune reaction to the virus. The company is testing the cell therapy in 240 patients at 20 medical centers around the country.
Its shares jumped by 21.68% to $6.96.
Heat Biologics Inc (NASDAQ: HTBX) shares added 7.02% to $0.54 as the company joined the Alliance for Biosecurity to “secure government funding to support its rapid development, production, and distribution” of the COVID-19 vaccine. The company is still in the preclinical stage of the vaccine it is working on in collaboration with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Vaxart Inc (NASDAQ: VXRT) is developing an oral recombinant vaccine in tablet formulation using its proprietary oral vaccine platform, VAAST. According to the company, its drug will base on the genome of 2019-nCOV.
Vaxart CEO Wouter Latour said:
“We believe an oral vaccine administered using a room temperature-stable tablet may offer enormous logistical advantages in the rollout of a large vaccination campaign.”
While the company is planning to start a Phase 1 clinical trial in the U.S. in the second half of 2020, its stock is growing, adding 2.38%.
The company is in the second phase of testing a vaccine in 60 patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. The trial is taking place at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
As the firm has joined the race, its stock went up. Yesterday, it closed 2.32% up, at $3.97.
Medicago Inc is also developing a drug against COVID-19 after creating Virus-Like Particles (VLP) of the virus. The company has partnered with Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre to develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) is backing its activities.
To develop the coronavirus vaccine, Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp (NASDAQ: TNXP) has partnered with Southern Research. The vaccine is a modified horse-pox virus developed on Tonix’s proprietary horse-pox vaccine platform. Its stock jumped by as much as 2.57% on April 9 to close at $0.718.
Among other companies to work on the COVID-19 vaccine are Lattice Biologics, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, BIOXYTRAN, Japanese Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Swiss Roche, and more.