COVID-19 vaccine candidates secure funds; Lysol gets EPA nod

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.



— Overall retail sales are expected to fall this year, but there’s one bright spot: online shopping. E-commerce sales are expected to rise 18% this year, with most of that spending going to Amazon and Walmart, according to market research firm eMarketer. The increase was helped by the popularity of services like buy online and pick up curbside. The pandemic has also forced some to shop online for the first time: online shopping among those 65 and older is expected to rise 12% this year.

— Good Times Restaurants, which runs Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, is reporting fiscal third-quarter same-store sales for Bad Daddy’s dropped 36.7% due to the impact of the pandemic and associated government restrictions related to restaurant dining rooms.

The company said Tuesday that Bad Daddy’s same-store sales improved throughout the quarter as jurisdictions eased dining room restrictions and its carry-out and delivery business expanded.

Good Times received approximately $11.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.


— Novavax has been chosen to participate in Operation Warp Speed, a U.S. government program that seeks to begin delivering millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 next year.

Novavax has received $1.6 billion from the federal government to complete late-stage clinical development, including a Phase 3 clinical trial; establish large-scale manufacturing; and deliver 100 million doses of NVX‑CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as early as late 2020.

— Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has received $450 million through Operation Warp Speed to make and supply its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, REGN-COV2. The agreement supports continued manufacturing so that the product could be made available immediately in the U.S. if clinical trials are successful and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants Emergency Use Authorization or product approval.

REGN-COV2 is currently in two Phase 2/3 clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 and in a Phase 3 trial for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.

— LabCorp is launching an at home COVID-19 test collection service.

The service allows a doctor to directly order a test collection kit for their patient through a digital interface with LabCorp. Once the order is placed, LabCorp will send the kit to the patient, who will perform the sample collection using a nasal swab and send it back to LabCorp via FedEx. LabCorp then delivers the patient’s test results to the healthcare provider’s electronic medical record and the patient’s LabCorp Patient Portal. The result provides the doctor the information needed to make the appropriate clinical decision before proceeding with surgery or other treatment.

The service received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA on July 1.


— Air travel in the U.S. continued its slow rise around the July 4 holiday weekend, with more than 700,000 people being screened at airport checkpoints over the three-day period, according to government figures. Those are the highest numbers since March 18 but are still down about two-thirds or more from a year ago.

— Five more airlines have reached tentative agreements on additional government loans to help them survive the pandemic, which has devastated air travel. The Treasury Department said Tuesday Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue signed letters of intent. That doesn’t mean they will draw on the loans — United Airlines executives have said they would apply but not necessarily tap the money if they find better terms on the private credit market. Amounts were not disclosed. Last week, American, Spirit, Frontier, Hawaiian and SkyWest signed letters of intent with Treasury. Negotiations on final terms are continuing. Congress and the White House approved $25 billion for loans to passenger airlines on top of a previous $25 billion to help cover their payroll costs through September.

— The Hartford is extending its COVID-19 personal auto payback plan through June. The plan originally gave customers a 15% credit on their April and May personal auto insurance premiums. By extending the plan through June, the amount the company will distribute to its customers will total approximately $80 million.

The Hartford said Tuesday that it will continue to work with state insurance departments to make the additional credits available as quickly as possible. The company intends to issue the credit to all personal auto insurance customers with policies in force as of June 1. No action is needed from customers. The credit will occur automatically.


— The Dubai Financial Market, the sheikhdom’s stock exchange, has reopened its trading floor after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The market closed in mid-March over the pandemic, but trading continued online throughout the closure.

The move by Dubai on Tuesday came as the city-state in the United Arab Emirates also began welcoming tourists again.

— U.S. stocks are dipping modestly in early trading Tuesday as expanding coronavirus outbreaks dim hopes for a speedy recovery.

CLEANING POWER: The Environmental Protection Agency is starting to approve surface disinfectant products tested on the virus. The agency said that it’s approved two products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, based on laboratory testing that shows the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2.

The EPA said that it expects to approve such claims for additional products in the coming weeks.

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