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Fulgent Genetics to test NYC school children; Sanofi, GlaxoSmithkline launch vaccine trial

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Alexis Christoforous, and Anjalee Khemlani discuss the latest coronavirus news.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You've got shares of Fulgent Genetics surging this morning, up about 11% here in the premarket after announcing a big deal to test hundreds of thousands of New York City schoolchildren for COVID-19. Anjalee Khemlani is here with more on this one. So Anjalee, it seems like a pretty big undertaking. That's a lot of kids to have to test.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Absolutely, Alexis. It is a lot of kids. But it is sort of the exact relationship that many are hoping might form with other entities and other school districts, really looking for a way to get people back to school. And also within the scientific community, a debate on whether or not regular testing is necessary.

But there have been reports of other school districts and other schools doing the same. So right now, New York City with that agreement will be FDA-authorized, so that Emergency Use Authorization for Fulgent for their test. So Fulgent has also announced that they actually are able to do not just the COVID test, but also a flu test simultaneously on the same swab. So with the concerns of flu season coinciding with school, coinciding with COVID, the major concerns that we've heard from all the top health experts is something that is being addressed in this deal.

BRIAN SOZZI: And Anjalee, we're getting some news this morning from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline on their own COVID vaccine. What are the details?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's correct. So they are now entering the first phase of human trials. And that is putting them a little bit behind the front runners. We've seen Moderna, Pfizer, and others a little bit further ahead, Novavax as well, which was publishing-- their Phase I results were published today in the "New England Journal of Medicine."

So while it does put them a little bit behind, they do have a different sort of technology for their vaccine. So it gives us just another option for vaccine candidates in the race right now. The company expects that they will have results by the end of this year and are hoping for some sort of approval in the first half of next year.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Anjalee, can you tell us more about the CDC asking companies, or I guess pushing for a vaccine by late October, I guess because they want it in time for the election? That seems awfully, awfully fast. And I'd have to wonder how many people would be running to get it.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: There are questions about the timing of it all. We've heard repeatedly from the top health administration officials that there will be some sort of vaccine at least available, at least authorized possibly with that Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA in time for the election, though not in those words. But we are looking at the difference between what health experts are questioning, which has been the case, even after we saw that convalescent plasma UA, et cetera.

So there are some concerns about just how quickly things are moving through with the administration. Dr. Anthony Fauci did say the other day that there is a mechanism by which a clinical trial could either end early if risks outweigh-- certain benefits outweigh the risks. Then there is an independent advisory committee that does have the authority to terminate or at least push ahead for approval if observationally, they are seeing that improvement, especially with the sort of unprecedented demand.

But that's something that health experts have long said, at least since the pandemic has been going on, that shouldn't be really pushed through, that Phase III is that critical part of the trial that needs to be observed for a long enough and should not be rushed. So definitely going to be interesting to see. Who knows who will be getting it. But there is definitely, obviously, a concern and a focus on high-priority individuals, such as health care workers and essential workers who will probably be at least offered the opportunity to get that vaccine first.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, thanks for clearing that up, Anjalee Khemlani.