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Coronavirus outbreak: AstraZeneca approaches Gilead about potential merger

BusinessToday.In     June 7, 2020

In what may be the biggest healthcare deal on record, AstraZeneca has approached rival drugmaker Gilead Sciences about a potential merger. According to a Bloomberg report, Gilead was contacted last month by AstraZeneca about the possibilities of merger. In case the deal happens, it would bring together two firms leading the drug industry's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said the company does comment on rumours or speculation. Gilead's share price has climbed 18 per cent in 2020 as its antiviral drug for Covid-19, Remdesivir, showed successful results through clinical trials

Right now, over 100 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of development, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO). China's CanSino adenovirus vaccine, Oxford University's adenovirus vaccine, Moderna's mRNA vaccine, Novavax's vaccine are among the most promising candidates globally so far.

Even though various candidate vaccines have produced encouraging results in early stages, a clearer picture can only emerge when a diverse population gets tested. No vaccine so far has been able to clear the second obstacle.

So far, globally, ten vaccine candidates are getting tested on healthy volunteers, while 114 are in preliminary stages of development. Even the Indian pharma firms are actively contributing to the cause.

"I still think that we have a good chance, if all the things fall in the right place, that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year, by December and November," Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force and globally renowned immunologist, recently told CNN.

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