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The Drug Trials of the Century: TODAY NYC Begins Testing Drugs for Treatment of Coronavirus

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I believe we will turn the corner with these drugs.  Today is the day.

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    ‘They could work’: Coronavirus drug trials to begin in N.Y. state, Cuomo says

    By Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News |Mar 22, 2020 |

    New York State is about to begin testing drugs for treatment of coronavirus, Gov. Cuomo

    The feds have given the state 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of zithromax and 750,000 doses of chloroquine. Testing will kick off Tuesday, Cuomo said.

    “The president is optimistic about these drugs and we are all optimistic that it could work,” the governor said at a press conference. “I’ve spoken with a number of health officials and there is a good basis to believe that they could work.”

    There are no federally approved drugs to treat coronavirus — an original form of which began circling the globe last year — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York has the most cases of any state in the country — 15,168 as of Sunday afternoon — and Cuomo previously said he wanted New York to be “first in line” for drug trials.

    Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are ordinarily used to treat malaria and certain inflammatory conditions, according to the FDA.

    The Drug Trials of the Century

    Promising candidates for treating Covid-19 patients could rescue not just patients but a world economy gripped by fear

    By Charley Grant, Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2020 7:33 am ET

    Clinical trials for experimental drugs often have high financial stakes. Coming trial results for possible Covid-19 treatments are in a category of their own.

    Hopeful news about a blockbuster therapy for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or other ailments can add or subtract billions of dollars from the value of a drugmaker’s shares. Success in treating at least some Covid-19 patients could help restore trillions of lost value to stock markets, even if its originator doesn’t earn very much from the drug itself.

    A halt to the economy sparked by a public health crisis caught both Wall Street and Washington off guard. Eventually, the focus will shift from preventing deaths to repairing the damage to key industries like hospitality, travel and live events.

    That moment will be welcomed by all when it arrives. But just as the outbreak spurred the shutdown, authorities will need confidence that emergency rooms and intensive care units can handle the flow of patients before some aspects of normal life can restart. For now, there is little cause for cheer. Hospitals in hot spots like New York City and northern Italy are reeling, with a fraction of the number of cases they could see if community spread were allowed to progress unchecked.

    A safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is the most important health tool to defeat the disease. Aggressive development efforts are under way, but such a silver bullet likely won’t be available for at least a year.

    Meanwhile, a more piecemeal approach that limits mortality will have to suffice. U.S. testing capability is finally beginning to improve as private actors step up: LabCorp announced last week it is now able to process 20,000 tests a day, two weeks after first offering testing. Private industrial efforts to expand supplies of essential hospital equipment have accelerated as well. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved a rapid-testing kit for the disease.

    But the options to treat those already sickened by the virus may soon expand, and investors should prepare for glimmers of hope in the weeks ahead. Some patients have recovered after receiving Gilead Sciences ’ experimental antiviral treatment remdesivir, though there isn’t yet enough clinical data to understand if the drug is truly safe and effective and, if so, for what specific disease stages or populations. That could soon change: A series of clinical trials that began in early February will start to generate results in March and April. Gilead Chief Executive Officer Daniel O’Day said back in February that the company was “creating as much optionality” in the supply chain as possible should remdesivir prove useful, which bodes well for potential manufacturing capacity.

    Elsewhere, drugmakers Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi SA are studying whether their jointly-owned drug Kevzara helps prevent overactive lung inflammation in severe Covid-19 patients receiving the drug last week in New York. Gilead and Regeneron’s share prices have rallied in a weak market, though Covid-19 treatments are unlikely to be a profit center in either the short or long term.

    Hospitals also have begun to include the old malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treatment protocols. Those drugs, which aren’t approved by regulators to treat the virus but have generated promising but inconclusive results in small, open label studies, can be administered by doctors on an off-label basis. Several large drug manufacturers have vowed to donate large quantities of the drug or crank up production.

    Regulators have signaled that the approval process for promising drugs will be rapid. None of these therapies will make the disease go away or immediately spark a return to everyday life. However, positive data and an improved supply and testing outlook can help begin to restore some of the confidence that has been sucked out of the global economy.

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