Healthcare Overview

Brief Summary of the coronavirus pandemic

Chinese officials first briefed the World Health Organizations in late December of numerous cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause. By the end of January, the virus had appeared in the United States, who shut down travel to and from China in a bid to slow the initial spread. This seemingly purchased time. The WHO suggested social distancing at the end of January, to further slow the spread. By March however, the virus had spread to many new states – several of which would become the outbreak center of the virus on US soil. On March 12th the virus was declared a pandemic by the WHO.  The first statewide restrictions on travel came on March 24th. This lasted until the final week of April when some restrictions were lifted. Currently only Georgia’s medically fragile and at-risk are on stay at home orders.

Treatment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has allowed states to distribute Gilead’s Remdesivir to fight the virus. Gilead received an emergency FDA authorization for Remdesivir. The company as now released prices for their drug, which will be $390 or $520, depending on the patient insurance. Inovio is expected to begin mid-stage clinical testing of its vaccine this summer. A synthetic cortisol, Dexamethosone has shown potential for a repurposed use fighting coronavirus – the drug is widely available. The QBI Research Group has identified similarities between coronavrius and cancers, and more importantly, similarities between their effective treatments; 87 existing drugs with potential to beat the virus have been identified. Moderna and Novavax are in the process of developing vaccines.

The US currently has 4 vaccines in phase three trials, some of which could be finished as soon as October. The vaccines are developed by AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna Inc. AstraZeneca’s trial has been halted recently. Additionally, there are 3 vaccines in phase one and two trials by: Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Novavax Inc., and Sanofi. Inovio Pharmaceuticals intends to launch simultaneous phase two and three trials in September. Novavax started the second phase of trials in August and has not released a timeline for phase three yet. Sanofi expects to launch a phase three trial in 2020.

[1] Georgia Department of Public Health https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
[2] The COVID Tracking Project covidtracking.com/

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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