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Drugmakers see long road ahead in coronavirus vaccine race

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:13s - Published
Drugmakers see long road ahead in coronavirus vaccine race

Drugmakers see long road ahead in coronavirus vaccine race

Drugmakers racing to find a vaccine or effective treatment for the deadly new coronavirus in China cautioned that they have a long way to go.

Yahaira Jacquez has more.


Drugmakers see long road ahead in coronavirus vaccine race

Novavax is one of at least a dozen drugmakers racing to find a vaccine for the new Wuhan coronavirus.

The Gaithersburg, Maryland - based company already has a vaccine in development against MERS - another type of coronavirus.

But while reports of a supposed 'breakthrough' took financial markets out of their rut this week and sparked optimism that researchers could find an effective treatment, companies Reuters spoke to said not so fast - warning they have a long way to go to help those infected... ..from the outbreak of the flu-like virus that has killed more than 500 people in China and shows no signs of slowing down, with thousands of new cases reported each day.

But Novavax research chief - Gregory Glenn - thinks the bio tech company is in a good position.

"Novavax, has in the past gone from getting the gene sequence, identifying the virus to starting testing in 90 days for ebola and for a pandemic potential flu vaccine.

So we've done it so everyone is very focused on trying to compress these time frames." Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences are also rushing to develop treatments.

And it's no easy feat, according to health experts, to move vaccines from the lab to widespread use in patients involves a number of hurdles.

In addition to scaling up manufacturing capacity and building distribution networks, there are also regulatory hurdles that include carrying out large clinical trials.

In a process that could push back a drug's release date by a year or more - according to executives from companies involved in the effort.

And it's also pricey.

Investment costs could run as high as $800 million for a vaccine that may or may not prove profitable.

One analyst pointed out that by the time a vaccine is deemed safe, 'the outbreak could be abating."

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