French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi on Tuesday announced that a drug in testing as a treatment for serious COVID-19 cases had proved disappointing and trials will be halted. The drug “did not give us the results we were hoping for”, said the firm’s research Chief John Reed.
Sanofi is also part of the global race to develop a vaccine against Coronavirus, with more than two dozen different products being tested around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
In Hong Kong, health authorities are focusing on rolling out a mass testing scheme but have seen their efforts hampered by distrust of officials following China’s crushing of the city’s democracy movement.
Doctors and testing firms from mainland China are involved in the programme, fueling public fears that their DNA and data will be harvested to create a system of control underpinned by biometrics. “I think it’s a waste of time,” local resident Emily Li told AFP. “The government can’t convince me in terms of the effectiveness of the testing programme.”
Elsewhere, fresh economic data for the second quarter further revealed the extent of the economic devastation caused by the virus’s march around the globe. Brazil’s economy, the biggest in Latin America, contracted by a record 9.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, the official statistics agency said Tuesday. There is uncertainty about whether the economy will recover strongly over the rest of the year because the virus is still wreaking havoc and room is running out to continue the huge government stimulus spending that has softened the blow so far. On Monday, India said its economy had collapsed by 23.9 per cent. Only China, where the outbreak was first reported, has escaped a recession.