Merck Joins The Fight Against Coronavirus
Pharmaceutical company Merck has entered the effort to find a vaccine or treatment for the Coronavirus. This is a significant development as Merck brings massive resources to this fight. "The $190 billion pharma giant with more than 70,000 employees has one of the largest vaccine businesses in the world", according to Business Insider. The company has announced two vaccine programs and one experimental antiviral pill.
Business Insider quoted the CEO of Merck Kenneth Frazier saying "We will ensure that all of these programs have the resources, attention and focus they need - and that the COVID-19 pandemic demands". The nonprofit IAVI, which successfully found an effective Ebola vaccine, will be working with Merck.
"The US Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority is also providing funding to advance this vaccine candidate. This candidate uses a type of animal virus called vesicular stomatitis virus". This process was successfully used by Merck to produce an Ebola vaccine. According to Merck, coronavirus vaccine candidates should start human trials in 2020.
Merck is also buying the private biotech company Themis. Themis "has specialized in using the measles virus to deliver vaccines. The virus acts. As the delivery system to provide human cells with an antigen". Merck also has made a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop an antiviral treatment.