The beginnings of a ‘Covid-19’ industry

Milken Institute survey finds nearly 300 therapies and vaccines


The Milken Institute, through its FasterCures effort, had set up a Covid-19 tracking system in late March to collect data on vaccines and therapies for the disease (and now there are multiple other efforts, including one from IQVIA). At that time (March 25), there were 55 treatments and 38 vaccines being studied. Now, as of May 4, there are 111 vaccines and 197 treatments.

“I am encouraged by the accelerated process in developing these treatments and vaccines that traditionally take years,” said Esther Krofah, executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. “It is promising to see the collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and research organizations driving progress at this scale.” FasterCures has a team of medical professionals gathering the information and collating it; one can assume this are legitimate projects (unlike the raft of fake cures floating around by highly questionable operators).

According to the survey, 50 treatments are in clinical trials, including the Recovery study, the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Study, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, and the REMAP-CAP trial. Most of these named studies involve multiple health systems and academic centers.

There is wild—and incessant—speculation that a successful vaccine will pop out, perhaps by the end of this year, which wound represent an unprecedented pace of vaccine development. Others speculate that it could be one, two, four or more years—if ever. All the same, the fact that this is a global pandemic, and not one restricted to one region or continent, means that drug researchers around the world are actively engaged. It is probable, too, that multiple vaccines will be brought forward, with additional time required to compare their effectiveness. Although widely dispersed, a global industry is in the making.