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Coronavirus forcing 'greatest movement ever' by biomedical industry, government: Michael Milken

Lucas Manfredi

Philanthropist and chairman of the Milken Foundation Michael Milken told "Sunday Morning Futures" that the current race for a coronavirus vaccine is "the greatest movement ever in history by the biomedical industry and by government."

"The medical community, FDA, CDC, HHS, BARDA, NIH, they are accelerating these efforts," Milken said. "They are making financial commitments so that if something works, it'll be available to us."

According to Milken, there are more than 400 potential treatment options available and more than 150 vaccines in development. Milken added that he expects "hundreds of millions" of vaccines to be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

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"We don't know if they work yet, but they will be available," Milken said.

Milken acknowledged that a vaccine will be required to completely open the economy and "get people comfortable."

"Antivirals such as Gilead or these ADT drugs, androgen deprivation therapy, are going into human beings today," Milken said. "These are safe. They've been approved. They've been around for years, and many of them appear to have a very positive effect on controlling the virus."

Milken added that the Food and Drug Administration doesn't need to be pressured by the Trump administration to greenlight a safe solution.

"They're not going to bring anything that isn't safe. Johnson and Johnson's not bringing anything that isn't safe, Moderna and so on," Milken added. "Thousands and thousands of people have already been given the vaccines and the Oxford vaccine BARDA has committed more than a billion dollars to it."

Earlier this month, the White House announced it would move forward with five vaccine candidates for its "Operation Warp Speed Initiative" from Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Pfizer.

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Milken was referred to as "one of America's greatest financiers" by the White House after being pardoned by President Trump back in February.

Milken fell under government scrutiny when speculator Ivan Boesky agreed to give authorities evidence about malfeasance on Wall Street after a 1986 guilty plea to insider trading, according to a report by the New York Times.

After serving two years of a 10-year prison sentence and being charged $600 million in fines, Milken went on to co-found the Milken Family Foundation and the Milken Institute while contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research, education and disadvantaged children.

There are more than 2.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 125,000 deaths in the United States, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.

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