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Coronavirus Vaccine Update, June 11

Jun. 12, 2020 5:14 AM ETMRNA, AZN, JNJ, BNTX, PFE, GSK, SNY, MRK, NVAX116 Comments
Derek Lowe profile picture
Derek Lowe


  • The Wall Street Journal‘s Peter Loftus broke the news of the overall plan in the US: Moderna’s candidate was said to be going into Phase III in July, followed by the Oxford/AstraZeneca effort in September, with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to follow.
  • Note that Pfizer (and their partner BioNTech) are not part of this government-funded initiative – they’re going it alone, and (as mentioned before) seem to be taking the largest number of potential vaccine candidates into human trials.
  • Merck is in the same category. Another company to keep in mind is Novavax.

Since I did a monoclonal antibody update in the last post, here's one on the vaccine front, where there is a lot of news - and where there are a lot of issues coming up similar to the ones with the antibodies as well. The last vaccine update post was here.

What we're seeing now is the plan for entering large-scale human trials. The Wall Street Journal's Peter Loftus broke the news of the overall plan in the US: Moderna's (MRNA) candidate was said to be going into Phase III in July, followed by the Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZN) effort in September, with Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) vaccine to follow. But J&J now says that they're moving up the timetable and negotiating with the NIAID for Phase III trials before then. Moderna has selected 100 micrograms as the Phase III dose, which is what was expected based on their earlier results.

Meanwhile, AZ says that they will be scaling up the manufacturing of the Oxford vaccine during the trials themselves, on a risk basis, and it would not surprise me at all to see other companies doing something similar. They'll basically have to - if one or more of these vaccines reads out well in Phase III, you'd want to get to dosing people as quickly as possible.

Note that Pfizer (PFE) (and their partner BioNTech (BNTX)) are not part of this government-funded initiative - they're going it alone, and (as mentioned before) seem to be taking the largest number of potential vaccine candidates into human trials. It's definitely an effort to be taken seriously. And then you have the Sanofi (SNY)/GSK (GSK) work, which has been less in the news, but involves two of the most experienced vaccine companies in the world. So don't ignore them, either.

Merck (MRK) is

This article was written by

Derek Lowe profile picture
Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek, email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com (mailto:derekb.lowe@gmail.com)

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Comments (116)

Yes he did. He admitted he said it and that he was wrong, I heard the interview. no matter what facts are put on the table, you will call them lies or inaccuracies. It is typical of how some people who go into a discussion with biases debate. Accuse the other person of what you are guilty of. I will stay on your case because you won’t recognize any fact that isn’t consistent with your pre formed opinion.
Cummerback, you can easily find Cuomo’s change order in May 11, the NYC subway system never shut down. You can find the statements by the NYC mayor in late February encouraging people to attend the Chinese New Year’s celebration in Chinatown. You easily can find Biden’s statement calling Trump xenophobic for closing down travel to and from China in late January. You can also check Ms, Pelosi statements in late February about attendance new year Chinese celebrations in San Francisco. You have to be on another planet if you can’t find these references or the accompanying time line,
I'll just rebut one lie, there are too many to waste any more time on you.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.”

The Biden campaign says Biden’s “reference to xenophobia was about Trump’s long record of scapegoating others at a time when the virus was emerging from China,” and that he was not talking about the travel ban.

Biden never said that the travel restriction (never a ban, in fact) was xenophobic. but, then, why let facts get in the way of a story?
Cumberbstch where to you get you “facts”. You seem to always state your opinion and claim it is factual. When the president declared that he and the federal government was in charge of what the country will do to combat the virus, the governors, the press and many on both sides of the isle asserted that he had no constitutional authority to do so. That authority constitutionally rested with the governors. In New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and most other states, governors gave executive orders to send still infected residents back into their long term care facilities. New York didn’t change this order til May 11. In Rhide Island over 80 residents of such a facility that had less than 120 residents died. Well over 10000 deaths have occurred in these facilities in New York and almost 40% of all deaths have occurred in these facilities country wide. NYC didn’t close down mass transit either, you ought to get your “facts” straight. How the governors could force such detrimental policies defies any reading of the data, The president provided federal and military personnel for the turning of the Javits center into an equipped hospital, they erected field hospitals in parks and the president sent the navy hospital ship to NYC. With many beds unused, the governors policy of sending still infected residents back into their original long term facilities continued. Do you understand the time line or do you insist that it didn’t happen ?
it would be nice if you included some links to your 'facts'. Faux News not accepted.

from the beginning, the Snowflake Left demanded a 'national plan'. you can look it up. it's a national epidemic, not a state snowstorm. or hurricane, which the Right always insists that DC fund recovery, if it hits a Southern Red State. or have you forgotten that bit? unless, of course, a catastrophic hurricane hits Northeast states.
corav profile picture
Where is the author in all this heated discussion?? The guy throws it over the wall and then hides behind the same wall. I'm amazed 2,441 followers like this format. Not for me. I like contributors that take ownership and are involved! They allegedly are the experts.
it's well known, I guess, that Lowe's pieces here are copied from his personal blog. so far as I know, he doesn't follow here. I don't even know whether he or the SA Editor choose which pieces to push to SA. perhaps the Editor could tell us, again?
corav profile picture
I read this piece and found zero value in it. The guy apparently collects little news bits from Bloomberg and the generic daily news and regurgitates it for SA. No real insight, position, or originality, just fluff. Seeking Alpha editors appear to be asleep at the wheel. "Seeking Alpha" means seeking excess return of an investment compared to the return of a benchmark index. The editors should seek for clues in each article to make sure they support this thesis.
Real Ken as with much of the discussion rapped around who did what and who should we blame, can you just remember who had the responsibility to do what in each state. You apparently have forgotten that it was the governors who asserted they had the authority to make policy and enforce it not the president and the federal government. I bet you were one who chastised the president for exceeding his constitutional authority. In point of fact each governor has exercised their authority, enforcing closures of businesses even in the light of it being constitionally questionable . Do you forget people being jailed or their licenses revoked because they did not follow their state’s governor’s“ executive orders’? Amazing what a short memory you have. Or maybe you do remember but are purposely changing historical fact,
"You apparently have forgotten that it was the governors who asserted they had the authority to make policy and enforce it not the president and the federal government."

so soon we forget, eh??? the governors took over just because Trump sat around with his thumb up his (and our) butt for two months. the PDB called out the problem at least as early as mid-January. nuthin' from the Trumpster. there still isn't a national plan. which means, among other things, that Covidiots in Red 'open' states are free to infect saner Blue states. we'll see how many 'seeds' are sent out from Tulsa 3 weeks from now.
The Fauci fung up. Shoulda done the Swedish model.
@Phil Dumfee Yes, and we better not start locking us down again or this will never end. It is 100% impossible to stop this from touching 60-80% of the populace. Doesn't mean they will get sick, but there's no way to stop the spread, but we can destroy business's and lives for No reason.
Why? Sweden’s results are not looking good...deaths considerably higher than its neighbors!
@Phil Dumfee

Sir, have you no shame - just look at the millions dying in the street.
Evidence is accumulating authorities grossly overestimated the IFR of the corona virus. The medical experts at the WHO, CDC, and NIH are not to be trusted. Are they creating a pandemic hoax for political purpose or is it simple greed to sell fake vaccines for fake epidemics?
"Are they creating a pandemic hoax for political purpose "

"simple greed to sell fake vaccines for fake epidemics?"

a fatal novel pathogen will wipe out 99% of a population. white European invaders with the common cold, etc. did just that to pre-Columbian North Americans. you may invite such a scenario.
Reel Ken profile picture
@jack bee

I guess if it's a Hoax our "Bunker Boy" should never have called for a lock-down.

What a catastrophic error by "Bunker Boy" to cause all this economic harm..all for no reason, whatsoever.

If I was a Trump supporter I would have hoped that it was no hoax .. then the shut-down HE CALLED FOR and economic damage was inevitable ... but since it was all a hoax.. just chalk it up to another "Bunker Boy" mistake.
WHO and Fauci and Birx. The buck stops there.
There are more than 160 vaccine candidates.:-)
A recent article on Web MD has many comments
on some of those candidates:
Captain Solo, several studies now have concluded that the fears of terrible side effects from the anti malaria drug given in approved dosages to people without pre existing heart problems are not warrented. The two studies widely publicized by the media done by UVA and the firm with three employees have now been widely discredited. The last two studies one from the University if Minnesota and one involving an even larger data set concluded little or no efficacy and also no serious side effects. Putting that aside, can you name any drug administered for cancer that doesn’t have side effects for some set of pre existing conditions. Another example is one should not get a vaccine against shingles if one has a kidney problem.
I know of four of five doctors who have treated patients with the anti malaria drug and beleve it had efficacious impact. It’s a fact that hospitals in NJ, NY and the DC area have been using it,. I actually heard two highly qualified doctors agree that what has happened in the dismissal of the drug borders on mal pactise. Whatever, I still am of a view that a therapeutic has a quicker path to approval than a vaccine and hopeful that the several companies working on these will succeed before winter,
CaptainSolo profile picture
Remdesivir: "Dr. Reddy’s Labs Signs Licensing Pact With Gilead for Remdesivir" www.bloomberg.com/...

GILD is a lot further on to FDA approval for Remdesivir (an injection that works in 24 hours for many) than any other. That alone can cut out any competition for a long time - sometimes years - IMO.


While some countries are yanking hydroxychloroquine / France, Italy, Belgium act to stop use of hydroxychloroquine / most are giving approval for remdesivir - including Japan.

GILD had $22 billion in antiviral drug sales in 2019. I wouldn't bet against remdesivir being a "flunk".
It's a treatment not a cure
kyri0882 profile picture
I have read like hundreds of comments the last month, only in SA. I have noticed 1 thing. A L L the people who say that a vaccine could never possibly come out in the market so soon, and those who deny moderna's therapies, alongside with the people who curse moderna and "pump and dump it", are these people who have absolutely no idea how mrna tech works. They hear a name, Moderna, they hate it because of the publicity, and thats that. No one bothered seen videos, presentations etc. I did, and im totaly convinced. And thats the reason why i believe this firm is here to stay. And from the investor's point of view, if you dump it now, its something you will regret in some years from now. But please do that, by all means. No one will force you to get rich. But im definitely this guy who after some years from now will wait at the corner for you and will laugh about it and tell you that i told you so... :-) So go dump it. Buy some nikola stocks and see the bubble explode in few weeks.
For high risk patients now, treatment with hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin + zinc is still the most safe and effective as long as treatment starts within 5 days of symptoms.
CaptainSolo profile picture
France, Italy, Belgium act to stop use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 on safety fears


JUNE 4 2020 "Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent COVID-19 in high-profile study
btheref profile picture
CanSino is in phase 3 testing in China and phase 2 in Canada but is not even mentioned. Yet, it is one of the leaders for a vaccine. Perhaps it's because they have no stock in the US?
kyri0882 profile picture
Bying a chinese vaccine? Do you trust them? Do you want to support them? By all means my friend. Good luck.
btheref profile picture
I do when the Canadian side verify results. Oh, and the vaccine is a joint China-Canada venture.
Where are the millions of bodies? The corona virus is a relatively harmless virus, unless you are already in hospice. Covid-19 is a psychological operation for political purpose, with large profits for the vaccine/bio-weapons research. The USA per capita death rate is 0.0003; which does not justify vaccination, social distancing, or masks for the 90% of the population who are asymptomatic from corona virus.
IMO-Covid-19 is a psychological operation designed to initiate The Great Reset of Capitalism. Testing, contact tracing, social distancing, masks, vaccines are stage props and social engineering devices to destroy the world as we know it and institute a brave new pandemic police state. If you doubt the political purpose of Covid-19, I suggest you read the following: www.weforum.org/...
Odd---Event 201 was sponsored by John Hopkins University, WEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2019.

"Event 201 simulates an outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible in the community setting by people with mild symptoms." www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/...
Donald J. Dictator is more likely.
corav profile picture
You make the point several times to mention that Pfizer is going it alone rather than with government participation. Whats the point to make that point if you don't explain what the point is. Is there a profit motive?
WelshWB profile picture
@Derek Lowe

Just to give you a dose of reality it would be impossible to come up with a safe and effective vaccine on a global scale until the end of 2021.

Most pharmaceutical companies have to conduct extensive testing to establish safety and efficacy. Heaven forbid if we are forced to use a live attenuate vaccine and it reverts back to its virulent form? There is a good reason why we have four phased clinical trials. The only way a untested vaccine can be released is if governments waive liability against pharmaceutical companies for potential adverse reaction.

Unfortunately the world is populated with right wing governments who take no accountability for their failures so I think pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to stick their neck in the parapet to risk their entire business.

The other issue is COVID-19 is a novel virus so much is not understood and there is the other issue if it mutates into strain? You should really brush up on your knowledge on vaccine, immunology and virology before you start posting articles of a scientific nature.
@WelshWB Nope on most accounts. The PFE vaccine has been given to humans now for 2 1/2 months with no ill effect. They are way ahead.
You lost everyone when you brought politics up.
And a treatment is not far off, but thats for a different time.
WelshWB profile picture

I never brought up politics I'm merely stating facts which is relevant under the context of the comment. Also do you even understand how drugs and vaccine are developed because clearly if you did you wouldn't make the comment:

"Nope on most accounts"

But good luck with your vaccine. Let me know when you get your shot.

All the best.
@WelshWB I do understand how it works how they are developed. Why would I want the vaccine? I will leave that for the first responders and those at most risk. This fall. As I have said the Pfizer vaccine is in use as we speak. I may know more than you think.
Your comment on right wing governments around the World not admitting mistakes tells me how you think.
The best thing we can do is Open the Country completely, since this will not go away until everyone who would have gotten the virus gets it. That's the way it works. The cure is worse than the virus.
Lock down the Nursing homes, but those with co morbidity, obesity high blood pressure and diabetes need to understand they are at risk. The rest of us can go about our business.
I'm not gonna get the shot regardless, I don't take the flu shot every year, not cause I'm anti vaccine. When I travel to places with certain diseases i do take shots, but this one is unnecessary for most.
I think the Regeneron treatment is the real key. I think George has it nailed, but we will see.
Ta0 profile picture
Why was $PFE eliminated from the government funding round? Was there a major issue with their vaccine effort?
@Ta0 NO
No mention here of LLY and their work with AbCellera on LY-CoV555
Seems we're still a ways off from a fully viable vaccine.
. . . easy as curing the common cold.
Test the vaccine on Gate's wife & kids on live TeeVee, 24/7, for 180 days, PPV.

Hell, give them all a double dose, let us all see how well it works.

I'm sure the world's smartest college drop-out, with no background in medicine and who made it through Mommy's connections, will be fine with it.

It will be great.
I notice that you have failed to mention the Plant-made vaccine candidates here.
B.A.T. / Kentucky Biopharming's candidate could produce 3m doses a month from Sept.
Medicago in Canada could produce the same from November for theirs.
Both companies are using a technique (sub-unit particle) which has proven useful in the past, not least Medicago's vaccine against Ebola which successfully treated advanced cases in that disease.
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