Comic strip: Vaccines, unite! – India


By Geoffrey Smith – The pharmaceutical industry has had its fair share of criticism in recent years. Exorbitant drug prices have produced generous returns for shareholders, and fierce litigation to avoid liability when its drugs go wrong have protected those payments, much to the chagrin of many aggrieved patients and regulators.

So the pharmaceutical industry has a lot to thank Covid-19: the virus has reminded the world of what it gets in return for all those tax dollars and health insurance. But that’s nothing compared to what the world owes the pharmaceutical industry right now. Because protection from a fatal or debilitating disease is the only thing billions of people desperately want to give back to their lives something as close as possible to the normality of a year ago.

Among the various subsets of humanity, investors have more reason to be satisfied than most. The 21% increase within two months of the announcement by Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 and BioNTech (NASDAQ 🙂 that their vaccine was over 90% effective in treating the disease. This was quickly followed by clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies around the world.

The International Monetary Fund recently revised upwards its forecast for global growth this year, emboldened by the progress of various drugs through the approval process around the world. The US Congressional Budget Office now expects US GDP to rebound faster and faster than expected, in part because it expects consumer confidence to rebound. audience returns more quickly and completely.

Where Pfizer and BioNTech have led, others have followed. No one, however, has improved the 93% + efficiency of Pfizer-BioNTech yet and Moderna (NASDAQ 🙂 vaccines. The similarity of the results for these two raised hopes for another mRNA vaccine, developed by German company CureVac (F :), which began stage III trials in December.

But one of the industry’s most notable successes has been its ability to develop effective treatments through a variety of technologies. Vaccines developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ :), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE :), Novavax (NASDAQ 🙂 and the Russian pharmaceutical industry all operate in different ways, but all show high levels of efficiency.

This is important because of the large number of new strains of the virus that have already emerged and will continue to emerge from the original SARS-Cov-2 virus. South Africa has been forced to halt its rollout of the AstraZeneca / University of Oxford drug due to its low efficacy against a particularly nasty new strain.

But having multiple technologies at work increases the likelihood that at least one of them will equal any new mutation, and the more vaccines approved, the less production bottlenecks. will be acute, like the one that caused a bitter quarrel between the EU. and the UK recently on who gets their vaccine order filled first.

Technologically and commercially, the vaccination campaign has been a triumph for the American model of free-wheeling biotech startups – with Moderna and Novavax succeeding where historic research institutes and Europe’s pharmaceutical blue chips have mostly failed. AstraZeneca’s success stands in stark contrast to the failure of Sanofi (PENNSYLVANIA:) (NASDAQ 🙂 and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE :). But it also sparked unlikely winners such as Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, a single-injection drug with a 91% efficacy rate that transformed the fragile international reputation of the Russian life science industry.

The vaccination campaign also offers some governments a chance to redeem themselves after their mismanagement – in some spectacular cases – of the pandemic. In the UK in particular, the rapid rollout of vaccines promises to reopen the UK economy by the summer, when much of mainland Europe is three months behind schedule. This is already demonstrated in the forex markets and will ultimately be reflected in the data.

But even where immunization takes place more slowly, the global campaign looks like a triumph of human achievement: a campaign that will see the world bounce back within a year or so after a disaster that could have crippled the global economy for a period of time. decade. Victory over Covid now looks like a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.


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