Coronavirus

Big Biotech Is Hustling To Beat Coronavirus

People are panicking and sketchy information is spreading fast, but rapid vaccine and anti-viral deployment should blunt the epidemic's health and economic effects in the coming year.

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Coronavirus poses "low immediate risk" to Americans at this time, said Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar today in a press conference. But "ultimately we expect we will see community spread"—transmission from person to person, like an ordinary cold or flu—"in the United States. It's not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses," said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The official death rate for folks infected with the virus, technically known as COVID-19, stands at around 2.3 percent as of now, but there are reasons to question that figure. It is likely that most cases of the disease are mild and go undetected by medical personnel, which would suggest a much lower overall death rate. On the other hand, the prevalence of undetected mild cases suggests that the virus may already have slipped through efforts to quarantine carriers.

Biotech companies are racing to develop a vaccine against the new malady while others are testing their currently available anti-viral treatments to see if they can ameliorate the symptoms of infected people. The biotech company Moderna developed its vaccine against COVID-19 just 42 days after the company received the genetic sequence information on the coronavirus. The company has already delivered that vaccine to the National Institutes of Health for human trials whose results should be known by the end of April. Even if successful, a vaccine would not be widely available for at least a year.

Another avenue of attack would be to develop anti-viral drugs to treat folks who do become infected. Gilead Sciences' anti-viral drug remdesivir is being tested in two clinical trials in China now. Results from those trials should be available by the end of April.

The rush to develop vaccines and treatments won't immediately stop the spread of the virus, but the rapid global response should significantly blunt the epidemic's health and economic effects in the coming year.

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  1. Anti-vaxxers will be first in line for this vaccine, as this disease is currently trending.

    1. Twitter will stop it from trending with an algorithm change.

    2. “Anti-vaxxers” first in line for a vaccine. Interesting and moronic take.

  2. And yet biotech/pharma, whose novel drug discovery processes are in many ways more complicated than moonshots, are “greedy.” Meanwhile, universities are not at all greedy for charging ever more money for ever less education.

    1. Dead on. The fools who are now debating often equate drug companies with tobacco companies or think that the government will invent a drug or vaccine against the virus. The only problem is that the pharm industry knows how to actually discover and develop a drug or vaccine, not the NIH. And if they do so they will not get one iota of credit – just complaints about the cost.

    2. Government is not greedy for wanting ever more taxes. Yet wage earners are greedy for wanting to keep what they earn.
      If I say I want out of SS and Medicare I am greedy for not wanting to help others but in fact would not be greedy because I would want to be entitled to zero of the next generation’s earnings.

  3. The rate might be 2.3%, but that’s IN China, not outside of China. In the western countries, especially the US, the rates are far lower and the death rate is currently non-existent.

    1. It doesn’t amtter how great your hospitals are after the beds are full.

      What matters for the us is: we’re fat, we’re not big on public transportation, we all mostly have internet, we have a stupid amount of bulk supplies of food, as a culture, we generally stand fairly far away from one another, our power networks are extremely reliable, our ability to accurately gather and disseminate information is pretty enviable too!

  4. It is likely that most cases of the disease are mild and go undetected by medical personnel, which would suggest a much lower overall death rate

    This is also why it’s probably spreading far wider and faster than the WHO is comfortable admitting.

    1. Like the common cold?

      1. Like libertarianism!

        OK. Maybe a little faster than that.

  5. Keep in mind that one of the world’s foremost epidemiologists has already assessed the situation and cautioned against any sort of over-reaction since the coronavirus does not do well in tropical climates and once the weather here warms up in a few months this thing will naturally subside.

  6. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

    And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

    Pestlence ! Hear the hoof beats. Time to get right with Jesus, Ron. The End is nigh!

    1. Read an interesting take on the 4 horsemen – the pale horse isn’t pestilence, it’s civil war.
      First war, then civil war (as authority structures have been destroyed and resources pillaged, the survivors fight among themselves over what’s left*), then famine, then death.
      It was interesting.

      *the parenthetical was my addition, as rationalization for the order

      1. White horse, not pale horse – conquest, not pestilence – as in conquest by foreign power.
        The red horse is then not war generally, but specifically civil war.

        *So you have a foreign conquest, which steals resources and and destroys social order, followed by civil conflict as survivors fight over the resulting power vacuum and remaining resources. Meanwhile, the fields have been left untended, which leads to famine. Death comes as the people kill each other and starve.

  7. ” The company has already delivered that vaccine to the National Institutes of Health for human trials whose results should be known by the end of April. Even if successful, a vaccine would not be widely available for at least a year.”

    If Reason were libertarian, it would be focusing its entire article on how unnecessarily long that is.

    1. How dare you criticize how or what Reason covers!?

      – all lefties in this comment section

    2. Makes me wonder if they delivered it just to the NIH and, if so, why not a bunch of different foreign national equivalents. I’m pretty sure most first-world countries have the facilities and capabilities, I’m also pretty sure there are some that work a lot faster than the NIH. Just because the US government doesn’t trust the French or the Brits or the Canadians or the Germans to be cautious enough to be absolutely 100% certain this vaccine is going to meet some absurdly high level of safety and efficacy before they release it on an unsuspecting populace of guinea pigs, that’s no reason everybody else has to suffer in the meantime.

    3. They didn’t figure out a vaccine for SARS or MERS, nor is there one for the common cold.
      Wouldn’t hold out a ton of hope for Covid-19, but wouldn’t be overly worried about it either

      1. The details in the literature so far (no papers, but they’ve published some notes) suggest that this vaccine is likely to be pretty effective. Downside is the method they had to use to make it entails more human risk than some others (meaning, there’s a greater possibility the vaccine will fail human trials).

    4. I think that’s just how long it takes to ramp up production.

  8. Down play harm for Capitalism! So typical, plus those who don’t understand political terms here.

    1. Will they let you out of the 6th grade this year?

  9. Bernie is going to propose re-importing the vaccine from Canada.

    1. You misspelled “Cuba”.

  10. If you like the offerings of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, you’ll love tonight’s Democratic Debate!

  11. For the record, your basic influenza has a mortality rate of about 2%, with the usual caveats that the very young and very elderly are at higher risk. This coronavirus-and I wish they’d just give it a name so we can stop using such a vague term for it-is likely no more lethal that something that crops up every year.

    In short, this is not a global pandemic people should be freaking out about, no more than you freak out during flu season.

    1. COVID-19 s deliberately named vaguely in keeping with WHO guidelines intended to prevent stigmatization on the basis of race, region, nationality, etc. No joke. The days of such cruel and insensitive disease names as German measles and the Spanish flu are over.

      I feel filthy just for having typed that. Downright contaminated. One might even say contagious.

      1. “COVID-19 is.” Can we get a fucking edit button already?

      2. I just now learned that it’s named COVID-19. Could headlines start using that name instead of just the broad term “coronavirus?” The former is at least specific while the latter is a category.

        Then again, writers and editors still insist on putting “-gate” at the end of every scandal, so my hopes are extremely low.

        1. Ah, and I just now looked up what COVID-19 stands for, and I find it lacking. It’s still better than just saying “Coronavirus” since I had a coronavirus last year that made me feel a bit lousy for about 3 days.

        2. “Then again, writers and editors still insist on putting “-gate” at the end of every scandal, so my hopes are extremely low.”

          So long as the media can find a headline which refers to some sort of crisis, the chance for rational response at the news-room level it pretty slim.
          This morning a TDS-infected commenter here was promoting this as a market-wrecker, in the hopes of undermining Trump, and given the media’s bias, it would not surprise me that some of the hysteria is a result of that bias and a similar hope.

    2. For the record, your basic influenza does not have a mortality rate of about 2%. If it did 26,000,000 cases in the US would cause around 520,000 deaths/year.

      CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

      1. Thank you. A 2 percent fatal flu would be devastating.

        Current numbers for the CFR, which is basically hospital cases / dead, are around 2.5 percent. They’re all over the map, mainly because most of the affected are Chinese, and the Chinese numbers are completely full of shit. Iran has a lot of dead—compared to other non-Chinese countries with cases—but not a lot of sick. Singapore has a few sick, and all of them are getting well.

        It’s still early in this. When SARS hit in 2002, the CFR was thought to be in the 2-3 range early on, and it was only when it concluded that the true CFR was in the 10-12 range.

        We’ll see. This isn’t ‘just the flu’. Or at least the Chinese haven’t been acting like it is. They’ve done a decent job of temporarily nuking their economy. Would they do that if this was simply a bad flu bug?

        1. I mean the Spanish Flu outbreak from 1919 only had a mortality rate of a little over 3% and it was a brutal global pandemic. Seasonal flu has a mortality rate that’s usually around 0.3-0.4% at most. 2% isn’t going to destroy modern civilization, but it’ll definitely kill a lot of people – mostly in places with weak infrastructure – unless we find some effective method for treatment and/or prevention.

          1. 3% was a global fatality rate. 3(ish)% of the whole population. The case fatality rate for spanish influenza was around 20% as best they can tell. Seasonal flu CFR is about 0.1%.

    3. Basic influenza has a fatality rate of about 0.1% or 0.2% – not 2%. Higher than 0.2% for the elderly (because they have far more complicating factors) and the young (because seasonal influenza creates some short-term – like 5 years generally – immunity and the young don’t have that).

      Covid19 is far more deadly. It is a new virus – so no one has immunity yet. Still too early but the fatality data so far indicates a 15% fatality for over-80’s and less than 1% for the young/healthy. Still – even for the young/healthy that is a fatality rate that is 5-10x regular influenza.

      For this season in the US – 30-40 million are estimated to have become seasonal flu infected. 15-20 million have gone to the doctor for that. 300,000- 500,000 have been hospitalized. And 16,000-20,000 have died (seems high to me – but that’s what CDC says).

      Same infection rate for covid19 (it is actually about twice as contagious as seasonal flu) would mean about 250,000-350,000 deaths among the young/healthy plus maybe double that (400k-600k) among the over-65’s. At the low end that would mean 6 million or so hospitalizations (the US has roughly 1 million hospital beds).

      Of course it hasn’t hit here. It hasn’t even hit China outside Hubei province like seasonal flu – yet at least. It may still hit hard in China this season but they are now making all the data up so we’ll never know until the peasants pick up pitchforks. It won’t hit the US until next fall/winter. But anyone like you who thinks it will just look like regular flu when it does hit will be gobsmacked.

      1. Since you’re here, you might find interesting a recent interview with a 39 year old survivor of the bug in Singapore. Cliff’s: she was otherwise healthy, ended up admitted on the 6th, having to be entubated and in ICU shortly thereafter, out of ICU on the 13th, discharged the 18th. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/coronavirus-covid19-survivors-on-fighting-the-virus-12459198

        Obviously she lived. Doubt she would have in anything other than a 1st world-equivalent medical system, with time and resources to devote solely to her.

        Definite doubt about the US’s ability to provide that level of care to ~(10% of population likely to catch the bug in 2020 * 15% of those who catch it getting seriously ill * 25% of those needing ICU/CCU space) ~1.3 ish million people. Or around the numbers you ran.

  12. The left is already attacking Trump for in action when there is nothing he can do besides the billions he already promised

    1. Of course they are. We all know how rabidly retarded the left has become. They’re going to run a commie on their Presidential ticket, in a country that has a national pass time of killing commies….. what else do you want to discuss?

  13. It’s not the virus that people need to plan for; unless you’re over 60, make sure you update your will.

    It’s the public panic. The run on food supplies and fuel. It’s the lack of people willing to work in packed work environments where they could be exposed to the virus. It’s not sending your kids to school and needing to stay home to watch them.

    1. “It’s the public panic. The run on food supplies and fuel. It’s the lack of people willing to work in packed work environments where they could be exposed to the virus. It’s not sending your kids to school and needing to stay home to watch them.”

      Yep.
      And there is hope that this will be ‘the tipping point’, so the push to keep the ‘panic’ at 11 on a 10-scale is palpable.
      As it happens, it’s still 8 months until the election, and the Ds are probably going to have to invent at least one new “crisis” if they have any hope of a D POTUS. So far, the efforts are lame, at best.
      Bloomie radio commercial today: he’s the only hope of uniting America (which he did his best to divide), and he’ll return ‘American values’, like 6oz sodas and paper straws…

  14. Christ on a pogostick! Watching this Democratic debate is about as pleasurable as getting your teeth drilled without Novocaine. The only way the moderators could make it bearable would be to mute the loudmouths’ mics the instant they call time.

  15. The humanitarian crisis in Idlib is unprecedented? Do the people who submit these questions know nothing of history?

    1. Not watching; is this Idlib, Syria?
      If so:
      “At least 20 civilians, including nine children, were killed in Syrian army strikes in the Idlib region on Tuesday, a Syrian human rights monitor said.”
      Sounds like an average weekend in Chicago.

    1. If he has to wait for NHS treatment, he’s D.E.A.D.

      1. I see the wagon attendant collecting the dead as the state. In many cases they were employed by the state, historically speaking. Notice his solution to the dilemma was to knock the not quite dead elderly guy over the head. It is a great analogy for government ran healthcare.b

  16. I have heard that the Deep State is actively spreading Coronavirus at Trump rallies.

      1. Well, they don’t seem to have anything better to do

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  19. Wuhan Biolab experts worked in USA (Uni North Carolina) & Canada (Winnipeg) and brought that research home to Wuhan

    The MSM has set its ‘factcheckers’ to refute ‘conspiracy theories’ about the Covid-19 virus. They are suppressing evidence of Chinese espionage at Western universities.

    However, espionage at Harvard University (Charles Lieber and two Chinese nationals) and Winnipeg NML lab (Xiangguo Qiu) is well attested.

    In both cases, there was a connection to Wuhan. Iin Lieber’s case, Wuhan University of Technology; and in Qiu’s case, Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

    Zheng-Li Shi and Xing-Yi Ge, leading virologists at Wuhan Institute of Virology, also worked in the US at the University of North Carolina, and obtained US Research Grants.

    Zheng-Li Shi (also written Zhengli Shi, Shi Zhengli, and Shi Zheng-Li) is a Professor, and director of WIV’s P4 lab.

    She and Xingyi Ge did the genetic engineering for Ralph Baric at UNC, to develop a Coronavirus that could infect humans directly without animal mediation.

    The spike glycoprotein of 2019-nCoV contains a cleavage absent in CoV – showing that it was engineered rather than evolved.

    1. Thanks big biotech.

      How much will you be charging for those vaccinations?

    2. There is more. Professor James Jonas of the Alex Josef Jones University School of Virology, herpetology, and parasitology has found the RNA sequence GUAACA inserted in three locations into the Coronavirus-19. The mandarin slang term and Spanish equivalent for “bat-shit”.

      This suggests clear connection between Mexican cartels and Chinese communists already engaged in the drug trade to cause a severe market panic. Not covered by MSM liberal media, the cartels are heavily invested and hold short positions in companies such as Jew owned TEVA pharm, Mylan (MLV) biotech, and globalist cartel Novartis (NVS). They hold patents to an 85% effective vaccine and a drug capable of curing the bio engineered virus.

      So meine friend. How much you want to pay is not the question. I think you have all the answers already.

      1. The profit motive. These viruses are innovation.

        Is this just another case of smaller government and letting the market decide?

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  23. Jesus, it’s just the flu – and not as deadly as some, so panic is absurd. A couple of percent of humans is nowhere near enough to make any kind of difference 🙁

    I am hoping it interbreeds with Ebola and AIDS – THEN we might see some fun times.

  24. Let me guess. Big Pharma will perfect a Corona virus vaccine and outsource its production to China.

  25. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is spreading fast throughout the world. People should have at least general knowledge about how the virus spreads and how it infects the human body so that they can take care about themselves.

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