WASHINGTON: On Friday an American biotech company Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) reported that it has a cure for the coronavirus disease. The same day, the CBS news channel reported that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has confirmed reports that researchers have begun testing a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Yet another biotech also said it has gained approval for a new method of coronavirus tests.
SRNE Chief Executive Henry Ji told Fox News the antibody drug his company has produced can provide “100 per cent inhibition” of Covid-19. “We want to emphasise there is a cure,” he said. “If we have the neutralising antibody in your body, you don’t need the social distancing.” The claim caused a 51.5 percent increase in Sorrento’s shares in the stock market.
CEO Stéphane Bancel, however, also noted that the acceptance of seven of these vaccines for human trials was very a positive sign. “This progress in a record timeframe is indeed encouraging – and a legitimate, medical reason for hope,” he wrote.
Moderna’s vaccine was the first to enter human clinical trials in the United States, back on March 16. Six other vaccines come from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, BioNTech (BNT162), CanSino Biologics (Ad5-nCoV), Inovio
Pharmaceuticals (INO-4800), Sinovac Biotech, and University of Oxford (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19).
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that a dozen of America’s top scientists, financers and industry titans have formed a group — called “Scientists to Stop Covid-19” — to find a cure or a prevention for this disease.
They have pledged not to make profit from this project and to sell whatever shares they might have in the companies that could benefit from their recommendations. One member who did not was asked to leave.
But the Milken Institute, a US think tank that monitors such research works, urged caution. “Some 200 therapeutics are being developed as possible treatments for Covid-19; and a remarkable 123 vaccines are under development to prevent infections,” it pointed out. Of these, only seven have entered human trials.
Health officials argue that the large number of vaccine candidates shows that the entire global community was focused on finding a cure to a disease that has killed more than 300,00 people and infected close to 4.5 million. But they also acknowledge that so many claims and counter-claims cause confusion and despair as none of these experiments have yet led to a definite cure.
In a report for the World Economic Forum, the Chief Executive Officer of a US pharmaceutical giant, Modern, urged people “not to take false hope from the number of vaccine candidates,” as 123 were far too many.