Hydroxychloroquine, the medicine that gained early attention on praise from President Donald Trump and others, has failed a study in VA hospitals. Pharma’s reputation has benefited from the pandemic, and the FDA has signed off on a new at-home testing kit from LabCorp. Plus more headlines.
As of Tuesday, the number of global confirmed cases had passed 2.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University’s real-time dashboard, and more than 174,000 people had died.
Please read below for the latest updates. We’ll be tracking the latest on this page.
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 21 at 3:21 p.m. ET
A VA study of hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, “found no evidence” that the drug reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in veterans hospitalized with COVID-19.
The FDA has approved an at-home testing kit from LabCorp. The kit requires people to send samples into labs for processing. Story
Pharma’s reputation has soared amid the pandemic, with 40% of survey respondents reporting that their view of the industry has improved since the crisis began. Story
Many in the public have heard the vaccine development estimates of 12 to 18 months, but that’s unrealistic, an analyst says. Story
Big Pharma companies don’t want to go it alone in spending on COVID-19 R&D programs, several executives told the Financial Times. They’re looking for governments to spend billions to aid the programs. Story
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 21 at 9:40 a.m. ET
Pharma CEOs are asking that governments pour out billions of dollars in advance for the development and production of potential COVID-19 drugs. “If industry does not know if there will be a market in 18 months, [it] cannot carry all [the costs]. Industry alone can’t provide all the investment needed now for billions of doses,” David Loew, executive vice president of Sanofi Pasteur, told the Financial Times. “Society will have to finance this huge investment. My fear is the same as after the [2009 swine] flu pandemic, when everybody loses interest,” Takeda CEO Christophe Weber said. Story
A vaccine won’t be available for general use for about three years, rather than the 18 months the National Institutes of Health has suggested, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges says. “We view the current expectations for a vaccine in this timeframe as the equivalent of standing 24 feet (the usual distance is 8 feet) from a dartboard, with one dart in hand, and counting on a bullseye from one throw,” Porges wrote in a Tuesday investor note.
Following other companies such as Pfizer and Novo Nordisk, Merck & Co. is now also expanding its patient assistance program, allowing eligible patients to get its medicines at no cost.
To ease shortages of drugs for COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators, the FDA is now allowing small compound pharmacies to temporarily fill the supply gap.
Japanese biotech Takara Bio‘s CEO Koichi Nakao told Nikkei his company plans to mass produce novel coronavirus vaccines as early as this year.
Cipla is committing INR 25 crore ($3.25 million) to support the Indian government’s efforts to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution Monday calling for an international collaboration to ensure rapid development, manufacturing and equitable access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment.
About 4.1% of 863 adults tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in a study in Los Angeles, suggesting these people have been exposed to the pathogen even though some may not show symptoms, Reuters reported. This suggests the rate of infection may be 40 times higher than the number of confirmed cases.
President Donald Trump said he plans to sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the U.S., saying he’s trying to protect American jobs amid the economic blow caused by the pandemic. Administration officials said the order wouldn’t change the status quo, as the administration has already halted processing nearly every immigration form.