Pfizer Strikes Deal To Manufacture Remdesivir

Manufacture Remdesivir

Pfizer Strikes Deal To Manufacture Remdesivir

Quick Take 

  • Nearly 100,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus in July.
  • Pfizer has entered into an agreement with Gilead Sciences to manufacture remdesivir.
  • Larry Kudlow struggled to explain Trump’s executive orders during an interview with CNN.
  • Upwards of 20 to 50 percent of people may already  have T cells that recognize the new coronavirus.

Nearly 100,000 Children Contracted  COVID-19

According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association nearly 100,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus during the last two weeks of July. The report says that at least 338,000 children have tested positive since the pandemic began.

The report comes as parents and education leaders grapple with the challenges of reopening schooling this Fall. More than seven out of 10 infections were reported from states in the South and West. Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho and Montana were among the states with the highest percent increase of child infections.

New York City, New Jersey and other states in the Northeast, where the virus peaked in March and April, had the lowest percent increase of child infections. The report noted that children rarely get severely sick from the virus.

Pfizer Strikes A Deal With Gilead

Drug manufacturer Pfizer has entered into an agreement with Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, to manufacture the drug at its facility in Kansas. The move comes as remdesivir, a drug shown to speed up recovery in COVID-19 patients, is in short supply. 

Some U.S. hospitals have been forced to ration the drug after a rise in severe COVID-19 patients. Pfizer will be one of 40 companies in North America, Europe and Asia that will be making the drug. Gilead says it plans to produce more than two million courses of treatment by the end of 2020. It also says it plans to produce another several million doses of remdesivir in 2021 if needed.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug that failed as a treatment for hepatitis C but was tested in COVID-19 patients. A federal study of 1,000 hospitalized patients found it to be effective against the virus. On May 1st, the FDA gave the drug emergency use authorization, allowing Gilead to sell remdesivir. 

Gilead says the drug is difficult and time consuming to produce as it requires “a long, linear chemical synthesis process that must be completed sequentially and includes several specialized chemistry steps and novel substances with limited global availability.” The price for a five-day course of the drug costs more than $3,000.

White House Officials Struggle To Explain Executive Actions

Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, struggled to explain Trump’s executive orders during an interview with CNN. The executive orders would cut additional government unemployment benefits from $600 to $400, and offer a payroll tax holiday for millions of Americans, which President Trump said he would make permanent if reelected in November.

Kudlow wrongly stated that the enhanced unemployment benefits would come out to be $400 federal and $400 by the state. However, President Trump’s executive order will only provide $400 in jobless payments in which states are required to cover 25 percent.

Kudlow said the White House expects states to use what he described as that “considerable overflow” of previous stimulus funding to pay for the unemployment benefit. Some experts have said states will not be able to use those funds for this unemployment aid since it is a new program not authorized by Congress.

Some Immune Systems Already Recognize COVID

According to recent studies, a large proportion of the population, upwards of 20 to 50 percent of people, may have T cells that recognize the new coronavirus despite having never encountered it before.

The T cells, which lurked in the bloodstreams of people long before the pandemic began, are most likely stragglers from past scuffles with other related coronaviruses, including four that frequently cause common colds.

The presence of the T cells has intrigued experts, who say it is too soon to tell whether the cells will play a helpful, harmful or entirely negligible role against the current coronavirus. If the cross-reactive T cells exert even a modest influence on the body’s immune response, they might make the disease milder and perhaps partly explain why some people who catch the virus become very sick while others do not.

Reopened High School Closes After First Day

A reopened high school in Georgia that drew national attention over images of its crowded hallways has had at least nine coronavirus cases reported in the last week, and is switching to online-only instruction while the school is disinfected. Photos circulated last week showing students crowded in a school hallway. Controversy arose after a 15-year-old student who posted one of the images was suspended by the school.