Coronavirus company news summary – Pfizer/BioNTech receive $1.95bn in funding from the US Government – WHO expert warns vaccine unlikely to be available until next year

Allie Nawrat 23 July 2020 (Last Updated July 23rd, 2020 09:09)

23 July 2020 

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense have executed an agreement valued at $1.95bn with Pfizer and BioNTech for up to 600 million doses of the companies' Covid-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162. As part of the agreement, the US will receive 100 million doses of the vaccine, after Pfizer manufactures and obtains the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval or emergency use authorisation.

According to top-line data reported by India-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, the company’s generic favipiravir drug called FabiFlu led to statistically significant faster time to clinical improvement, compared to standard supportive care alone, in mild to moderate Covid-19 patients. On the primary efficacy endpoint, favipiravir showed 28.6% faster viral clearance in the overall population.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies programme head Mike Ryan said not to expect the first Covid-19 vaccinations to be available for use until early next year. Ryan added that researchers are making progress in vaccine development and that there are several vaccines currently in Phase III clinical trials.

The European Union (EU) has decided to cut planned healthcare expenditure to 2027 by 80% and re-route that funding into economic recovery. This decision was made despite the EU facing serious difficulties in buying the analgesics, anaesthetics and resuscitation medication needed to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients, according to Reuters.