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AbbVie Backs Studies on HIV Drug Kaletra for Coronavirus Cure

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AbbVie, Inc. (ABBV - Free Report) said it is working with global health authorities to determine the efficacy of its HIV medicine, Kaletra/Aluvia against COVID-19. AbbVie is coordinating with European health authorities, FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other U.S. health agencies to support clinical studies on Kaletra/Aluvia for COVID-19 treatment. Kaletra/Aluvia is a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.

AbbVie donated Aluvia to the government of China, after a request was made in January, for experimental use in COVID-19 treatment. AbbVie claims that Aluvia has reportedly been effective in treating COVID-19. However, the company ensured no disruption in the supply of Kaletra/Aluvia for HIV treatment due to the experimental use of this therapy against COVID-19.

AbbVie’s shares have risen 12.1% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s increase of 0.7%.

AbbVie is among the several biotech/drug companies working on making treatments/vaccines to treat COVID-19. With the situation in China getting worse and the risk of global coronavirus outbreak rising, faster development of medicines/vaccines is the need of the hour.

 

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (“CEPI”), a public-private non profit organization, has provided funding to biotechs like Moderna and Inovio Pharmaceuticals for developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

Apart from CEPI funded biotechs, several others like J&J (JNJ - Free Report) , Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Free Report) and Regeneron (REGN - Free Report) have expressed interest in developing a vaccine for COVID-19. The companies investing heavily in COVID-19 vaccine development are testing if their existing/pipeline vaccines for flu or infectious diseases like SARS (also caused by a coronavirus) could prove effective in halting COVID-19’s spread.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization recommended Gilead’s investigational antiviral candidate, remdesivir as partial remedy for coronavirus though it has yet not been proven that the candidate can treat the disease. The leading biotech, last month, initiated two phase III studies, which will evaluate two dosing regimens of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with 2019-nCoV.

Other smaller biotechs like Vaxart and Novavax are making an effort to leverage their existing vaccine technology/platform to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Last week, President Donald Trump asked pharmaceutical companies working on making vaccines or treatments for coronavirus to accelerate development. However, none of these vaccines/treatments are expected to be available before a year’s time.

AbbVie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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