AstraZeneca announced the start of a trial for its new coronavirus antibody treatment on Tuesday. This comes as Dr. Fauci says that issuing too many premature emergency authorizations could get in the way of more vaccine trials. Yahoo Finance’s Anjalee Khemlani breaks down the latest news about the coronavirus on The Final Round.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, let's turn our attention now away from markets and back to what's going on in the world of coronavirus. Last night some commentary from Anthony Fauci about whether a vaccine should be rushed through. We've seen a lot of talk about-- we've certainly seen the trials move through Phase I, II, III with unprecedented speed.
And Anjalee Khemlani joins us now for more on this and everything else, Anjalee, going on in the world, treating, and I think testing, too, as we get towards-- we've seen it with sports and we see what's happening on college campuses. Testing is clearly inadequate, the speed with which many of these tests can and need to be turned around.
ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's correct, Myles. And to start on that point, the FDA has continued to look at ways to improve testing and make it quicker. So one of the things that we saw come out, I believe it was last month, was pool sampling, and that is basically just screening a bunch of tests at one time. And if any of them are negative, then you kind of go through and then double check on that.
And meanwhile, looking on that vaccine front, there definitely has been increasing sort of understanding that the vaccine is not going to be available this year, at least more widespread. We're definitely looking at more at the end of the first half of next year. So let's say Q2 of 2021, where more people have access to it, just based on the unprecedented global demand, the speed at which some of these companies are going to be able to produce them, as well as where they're allocated. There has been commentary about what the priority list is going to look like.
Who will get it first? Obviously, health care workers are at the top of the list. But then digging even deeper, I've had conversations with health experts who say, well, who in health workers gets that? Because you're looking at people who help maintain some of these hospitals and health care systems and facilities outside of just the clinical professionals. So definitely a lot of thought that is still being put into how we're going to see that vaccine come forward.
MYLES UDLAND: And then just wanted to quickly talk about this news out of Qiagen, where they've got the rapid antibody test. And I guess the question would be sort of two parts. I mean, six months ago, we would have said, well, you gotta know who has antibodies, because then you know who's had it and who has some kind of protection. Now it seems, as happens with many coronaviruses, you won't have present antibodies if you test for it, but you could develop them if you came in contact with it. Did maybe everyone get too excited or too focused on the need for really good quick antibody testing in the context of figuring out the scope of the pandemic and figuring out kind of how we get out of this, right, how we normalize on the other side?
ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Antibody tests were seen as sort of a quicker way to process testing, to try and figure out who has had the virus. When you look at the length of time it takes and how sort of invasive the PCR tests are, this was another easy way to do it. And especially at a time during the peak, especially for the Northeast, when you were looking to try and figure out where the transmission was, I think that that was where it was really being used.
But now, a lot of people are looking at just what the durability of antibodies is. This has come up in the conversations that we've had, especially with yesterday and today the convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibody news. So with all of that going on, there definitely is still a little bit more understanding needed about how antibodies work and how exactly they're going to be able to benefit the general population with the knowledge of this.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, Anjalee Khemlani with all the latest on the coronavirus.