Covid-19 roundup: Society needs to pitch in to shore up drug, vaccine manufacturing; Trump advisor Navarro suggests China is withholding data to win vaccine race

Apart from developing an efficacious and safe vaccine, a company?s ability to manufacture the vaccine swiftly is paramount. Experts, including NIAID director Anthony Fauci, have stressed that the best strategy is for makers to shore up manufacturing even before they have concrete evidence of efficacy so that vaccines can be deployed quickly and widely if proven to be safe and potent.

Now, chiefs of pharmaceutical companies are asking governments to work together and provide substantial funding to assist with shoring up production. ?Industry alone can?t provide all the investment needed now for billions of doses,? Sanofi EVP David Loew said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Apart from vaccines, there is a global desperation for raw materials for existing treatments being repurposed and testing. Of particular concern are developing poorer nations, whose access to medical supplies is limited by scanter resources. Executives also worry that the Covid-19 situation will echo what happened in the aftermath of previous outbreaks, such as Ebola and the 2009 flu pandemic ? as the dust began to settle, companies struggled to maintain funding to develop potential drugs and vaccines for future outbreaks after governments cut them off.

?The investment required is too large for any company,? said Takeda chief Christophe Weber to the FT. ?Society will have to finance this huge investment. My fear is the same as after the flu pandemic, when everybody loses interest.?

Trump advisor Navarro asserts China is withholding data to win vaccine race?

On Sunday, White House advisor Peter Navarro took to Fox News to accuse China of taking a suite of actions to worsen the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

?First of all, the virus was spawned in China. Second of all, they hid the virus behind the shield of the World Health Organization. The third thing they did was basically hoard personal protective equipment and now they?re profiteering from it,? Navarro said on Fox News program Sunday Morning Futures.

The outspoken critic of China, who has been tasked by President Trump to work on supply issues relating to the? pandemic, on Monday suggested on Fox News that the country is withholding data about early coronavirus infections in order to be the first to develop a vaccine.

?One of the reasons that they may not have let us in and given us the data on this virus early, is they?re racing to get a vaccine and they think this is just a competitive business race, it?s a business proposition so that they can sell the vaccines to the world,? he said.

The race to develop a vaccine has heated up, with China?s CanSino as one of a handful of developers with a vaccine in human testing.

Brazil hydroxychloroquine trial suspended due to ethical concerns?

A new study from Brazil, which suggested the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin had a significantly positive impact on early-stage suspected Covid-19 cases, was posted as a preliminary manuscript draft on Dropbox last week.

On Monday, the trial was suspended by the National Commission for Ethics in Research (Conep) after the agency discovered that testing was initiated before the company, a S?o Paulo-based hospital chain, received the greenlight to carry out the research. The researchers in charge were summoned for a hearing this Monday afternoon with the agency to provide clarification on suspected irregularities, according to a report.

There were a number of inconsistencies identified. For one, researchers had told Conep?that patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 would be included in the trial, but the manuscript released suggested that participants displaying flu-like symptoms without confirmed Covid-19 infections were included in the trial. Initially, the researchers also indicated the trial would enroll 200 participants, but the manuscript the number was closer to 700, the report said.

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