COVID-19 vaccine sales could boost BioNTech to list of world's biggest drugmakers

Due to wealthy countries' purchases of BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, the company may now join the world's list of top drugmakers according to sales. BioNTech is forecasting $18.7 billion in COVID-19 vaccine sales in 2021.

The German mRNA company, which partnered with Pfizer on its COVID-19 vaccine, is now anticipated to make the list of the world's top 20 pharmaceutical companies in 2021. The vaccine is BioNTech's only marketed product.

Moderna, which never had an approved drug before its COVID-19 vaccine was released, is experiencing similar financial success. It is expecting to bring in $20 billion in 2021.

Companies currently in the top 20 of pharmaceutical sales include Biogen, Teva Pharmaceutical, and Novo Nordisk.

BioNTech's partner, Pfizer, was number eight on the list in 2020 with $41.9 billion in revenue. Its COVID-19 vaccine sales are expected to help the company jump a few places higher on the 2021 list.


FDA approves two new single-use endoscopes

In a trend toward single-use endoscopes, the FDA has approved two new disposable devices from 3NT Medical and Boston Scientific in an effort to reduce the transmission of infections from patient-to-patient between procedures.

Now approved, the Peregrine endoscope from 3NT helps clinicians view the hard-to-reach areas within the sinuses to help with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as rhinosinusitis, or polyps and cancers. The new device can help physicians avoid the surgery typically needed to access the sinus' interior walls. 3NT estimates that more than 500,000 patients undergo sinus surgery each year in the U.S.

Boston Scientific's Exalt Model B bronchoscope has also received FDA approval. The single-use device is designed for bedside lung procedures in the ICU or OR. It can assist in procedures such as intubations, removal of secretions, and imaging and tissue biopsies. Boston Scientific estimates that 1.2 million bedside bronchoscopy procedures occur in the U.S. each year.

Single-use scopes are recommended whenever possible in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Earlier in 2021, the FDA cleared single-use endoscopes from UroViu and EndoFresh.



Repurposing a 100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine for COVID-19

The 100-year-old Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine may be added to the globe's arsenal of weapons capable of fighting COVID-19. The BCG live-attenuated virus was first used in 1921 to fight against tuberculosis. It may now possibly join the list of other existing drugs scientists are repurposing in an attempt to decrease the chances of hospitalization and death in patients with COVID-19.

According to a study published in Science Advances, scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR's) National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis believe the BCG vaccine could be a solution in areas of the world with less access to COVID-19 vaccines or perhaps function as an adjunct therapy to COVID-19 vaccines in elderly populations to decrease morbidity and mortality.

The BCG vaccine can reduce the blood levels of inflammatory molecules in elderly patients, a useful trait in the fight against severe COVID-19 where uncontrolled inflammation is a threat to patients' health. The vaccine functions by granting recipients broad protection against respiratory diseases through a strong, nonspecific, innate immune response.