This is a stunner.
And it’s 100% true.
Even confirmed by CNN of all places.
Merck halting all work on its COVID vaccine….
Because it’s data showed the immune response was “inferior” to just catching the virus and recovering!
Check this out:
Merck Suspending Vaccine Research as Covid Hoax Collapses https://t.co/vG9TFz6gnv
— SOS VENEZUELA (@VFF2000) January 27, 2021
$MRK stopping development of both coronavirus vaccines it's been working on. A major setback for one of the largest vaccine companies: https://t.co/WizeAwO0Mt
— Ned Pagliarulo (@NedPagliarulo) January 25, 2021
You gotta read this exact quote from CNN off all places:
Pharmaceutical company Merck announced Monday it is discontinuing development of its Covid-19 vaccine candidates after early studies showed immune responses were inferior to natural infection and other Covid-19 vaccines.
Merck said its vaccine candidates appeared to be safe, but the company did not provide results from early trials. It said in a news release it plans to submit results from Phase 1 trials of its vaccine candidates, known as V590 and V591, for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
In June, Merck announced it had acquired the company Themis to focus on a measles vector-based coronavirus vaccine candidate. Another candidate, developed with the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, was based on technology used for Merck’s Ebola vaccine.
Demand for Covid-19 vaccines is high, especially as the more contagious variants of the virus begin to spread in some places. There are 64 vaccine candidates in trials worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Two Covid-19 vaccines, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have already been authorized for emergency use in the United States by the US Food and Drug Administration; both are about 95% effective after two doses.
Basically what I’ve been telling you all along.
The virus has a 99.9% survival rate.
Get it, recover, move on with life!
US pharm. corp Merck& Co
A world giant with $47bn turnover 68,000 employees
Stops its research of new Covid-19 vaccines
after having produced weak results in early-stage trials https://t.co/MnaZJaOiHJ
— Jean-Michel Glachant (@JMGlachant) January 25, 2021
The Street confirms:
Merck said the decision followed data from a Phase 1 trial of its V590 and V591 vaccine candidates, which showed immune responses that were inferior to those seen in patients who were infected naturally, as well as those dosed by other COVID-19 vaccines. Merck said it will continue to develop its other coronavirus therapies, including its MK-7110, which received Emergency Use Authorization approval from the Food & Drug Administration late last year.
“We are grateful to our collaborators who worked with us on these vaccine candidates and to the volunteers in the trials,” said Merck Research Laboratories president Dr. Dean Y. Li. “We are resolute in our commitment to contribute to the global effort to relieve the burden of this pandemic on patients, health care systems and communities.”
Merck shares were marked 0.8% lower in early trading following the vaccine program news to change hands at $80.32 each.
Merck’s status as a leading company in infectious disease treatments made its early absence from coronavirus vaccine development all the more notable. While companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna each began human trials of vaccine candidates in the first six months of 2020, Merck didn’t even make its development plans public until last May, when it announced both the Themis and IAVI deals.
The company’s late entry reportedly followed a rejected overture to the University of Oxford, which eventually licensed its vaccine candidate to AstraZeneca.
With the IAVI and Themis vaccines, Merck bet on established technologies, which the company argued were more likely to succeed and result in a easier-to-distribute product. In doing so, Merck shied away from newer methods like messenger RNA. Though Merck has long been a Moderna partner and investor, for instance, the pharma didn’t back an mRNA-based vaccine. And CEO Ken Frazier publicly raised doubts about how quickly early movers would be able to prove out their vaccines.
Daria Hazuda, Merck’s head of infectious disease discovery, told Biopharma Dive in June that Merck was wary of pursuing a two-dose vaccine regimen during a pandemic. “Just think about global implementation, cost of goods and the burden on the healthcare infrastructure to do that in the midst of an epidemic,” Hazuda said at the time.
She also noted Merck’s preference for a shot with a faster immune response, claiming that’s why Merck favored vaccines based on modified viruses, which she said “tend to offer the greatest level of high level immunity really quickly.”
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Merck wasn’t alone in its skepticism: Sanofi and partner GlaxoSmithKline, two other top vaccine makers, chose more traditional, protein-based technology for their vaccine, figuring it would lead to a more potent shot. (Sanofi has an mRNA-based vaccine in development through a deal with Translate Bio, but human testing hasn’t begun yet.)
But both Merck’s and Sanofi’s vaccines have now come up short. Sanofi and GSK are working on a different version of their shot after weaker-than-expected results in an early study — a monthslong delay.
Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, meanwhile, have proven strongly effective at preventing COVID-19, raising the bar for any developers that follow them.
Merck will now focus on developing COVID-19 treatments, which are still desperately needed as initial vaccine rollout goes slower than many had hoped. The company has two prospective drugs in testing. One, an oral antiviral called molnupiravir and licensed from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is being studied for both hospital and outpatient treatment. The other, acquired through Merck’s buyout of OncoImmune, is meant to tamp down an overactive immune response in more severe COVID-19.
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