Monday, March 23, 2020

"New York launches new COVID-19 drug trials; more underway in China"

Keeping in mind that these are not yet treatments, much less "cures" or even prophylactic, there is reason for cautious optimism. First up,
From United Press International:
NEW YORK, March 23 (UPI) -- New York, "ground zero" for the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, is taking the lead on drug testing, with trials beginning this week on three drugs believed to have potential for treatment.

Trials to assess the efficacy and safety of the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, its sister agent hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin will join trials of other drugs going on globally, including tests of an HIV drug and an antiviral.

No treatment so far has proven effective against COVID-19.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Monday, "It's great to see the level of energy now being directed to research against COVID-19."

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But he also cautioned against creating "false hope" and urged countries to work together on clinical trials so that they don't result in a "shortage of medications to treat other diseases."
New York has over half of the more than 35,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday the state had purchased 750,000 doses of chloroquine, 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine and 10,000 doses of azithromycin for the trials, to be conducted by state health researchers.

New York's Department of Health will oversee two trials starting this week, one with a combination treatment of hydrochloroquine and azithromycin and another with plasma donated by COVID-19 patients who have recovered, a New York State DOH official told UPI.
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The blood plasma trial will take longer to start, the official said, because recovered patients who are willing to make donations, and whose blood contains antibodies against the infection, will need to be identified before starting.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which is also used for lupus and arthritis, for clinical trials to treat coronavirus. Researchers in France have seen potential for the drugs when used in combination with azithromycin.
However, WHO officials have warned that chloroquine has many side effects and may be toxic at high doses. On Monday, health officials in Nigeria issued a warning over chloroquine, saying three people were hospitalized after overdosing on the drug.

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WHO's SOLIDARITY trial, which also launches this week, will evaluate chloroquine, as well as the antiviral remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola.

China trials
Remdesivir is being studied in five large clinical trials. In Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus pandemic began, 761 patients are enrolled at multiple hospitals. Results are expected over the next few weeks....MUCH MORE
Regarding the hydroxychloroquine, here's STAT four days ago:
Teva and Mylan to jumpstart production of old malaria drug to fight the novel coronavirus

And Morgantown West Virginia's Dominion Post, March 20:
Mylan to restart production of possible COVID-19 drug at its Morgantown plant

And regarding Remdesivir, Reuters earlier today: "Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment gets FDA's orphan drug label"  and The Hill:
Gilead pauses access to experimental coronavirus drug
The company cites an “overwhelming demand” from patients for access to remdesivir to potentially treat COVID-19.....

There are a couple other old-school drugs ready to go into testing.

This may be the reason the computers were asking for margin Friday night:
It's Time To Buy Some Stocks
...There's probably some good news on the Covid-19 treatment front , there are market structure reasons for the almost-mechanical waves of selling to subside and the 'puters are asking if they can open a margin account.

There may be one last Monday flush but we're close enough to a dandy buying area that it really won't matter by mid-week. I'm off to visit a friendly banker.

Back Sunday....
DJIA futures up  657 at 19154

DJIA Futures Early After-Hours Session Up 315 on Hope, Dreams
And maybe some material non-public information....