J&J said it was partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to produce the vaccine. Shares of J&J surged nearly 7% on the news Monday.
Shares of Moderna, Novavax, Inovio and BioNTech have all soared this year, even as the broader market has plunged due to worries about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. (Pfizer is down nearly 20%.)
Already developed drugs might work now as the world waits for a vaccine
Some firms are hoping that existing medications for other infectious diseases and immunological disorders can be used to tackle the global pandemic.
“This is the first time in history where companies are trying to repurpose drugs this fast, and that is exciting,” Young said. “A vaccine is in the more distant future. We pray that one can come by the autumn.”
Sanofi is also working on a vaccine with BARDA funding from the US government.
Meanwhile, Chinese health officials have also been testing another rheumatoid arthritis drug — Roche’s Actemra — on Covid-19 patients.
The hope is that one or more of these existing medications will help alleviate the worst symptoms from the coronavirus, buying more time for companies developing vaccines to come up with a longer term solution to stop the spread of the disease.