How Merck’s Vaccine Lost the Covid Race

Merck, which was founded in 1891, has been in the vaccine business for over 100 years, developing some of the world’s most famous vaccines, including mumps, hepatitis A, and chickenpox. In 2019, It was the first company Obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration for an Ebola vaccine.

When coronovirus began to spread worldwide, however, Merck was slow to announce plans for a vaccine. By the time it provided details about the two vaccine candidates in late May, most of its major competitors had already announced deals, and Pfizer and Modern had already begun clinical trials.

But Merck didn’t have to be the first to win. Executives decided to pursue two projects that they felt had an advantage over competitors. A commentary, Developed in partnership with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Will depend on the same technology, based on a harmless livestock virus that produced their successful Ebola vaccine. Others, were acquired through the purchase of Themis Bioscience Based on the current measles vaccine.

The company said that both experimental Kovid vaccines would be tested using a single dose, and Merck was also exploring whether the use of livestock viruses could be given orally – especially in the developing world. Two big edges over potential competitors.

In July, Merck’s chief executive, Kenneth C. Frazier warned against leaving too early. “I think when people tell the public that there is going to be a vaccine by the end of 2020, for example, I think they do a serious job for the public,” Mr. Frazier said In an interview with Harvard Business School professor. Mr frazier Recently announced He will retire as chief executive later this year, a decision that was long planned.

In an interview in August, Dr. Nicholas Karthonis, Senior Vice President of Clinical Research for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, said that the company’s position as a leading vaccine manufacturer has given it the luxury of time. “We are a very big company. We are not to behold as being the first, ”he said.

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