Research
Interview Synopsis

Executive Summary: COVID-19 – Implications for the Global Healthcare Ecosystem

  • Multi Asset
  • Healthcare
  • Global

Third Bridge Forum has actively covered the progression and unfolding economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) since its onset in January 2020. Amid the uncertainty created by the spread of the virus, we have produced over 125 Interviews to share the insights of key opinion leaders and subject matter experts on the impact of the virus across all regions and sectors. The implications on the healthcare sector and its response to COVID-19 have been central to Third Bridge Forum’s coverage, comprising over one-quarter of our coronavirus-related Interviews to date. This report distills the key insights unearthed by our Forum Interviews over the last two months into three primary themes: Therapeutic Solutions, Diagnostic Testing and Healthcare Supply Chain Impacts.

Our full COVID-19 – Implications for the Global Healthcare Ecosystem report can be accessed in full via PDF. To gain access, simply complete this short form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

Executive Summary COVID-19 Symptom Progression – Key Statistics:  COVID-19 symptoms take 7-14 days to emerge vs 1-5 days for the common flu. This greater incubation period means infected individuals could spread the coronavirus at a greater rate prior to symptom onset.  Treatment should be given 1-2 days after symptom onset. There is a 24-hour replication period post-symptom onset, during which the patient has a high viral load in their lungs. Symptoms continue for 7-10 days before the infection resolves.  Peak infection is around 21-28 days, from what was initially thought to be 14 days. On average, it has taken 14-31 days to clear the virus.

Therapeutic Solutions:  There is high potential to repurpose existing drugs. It should be less challenging to develop therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines for COVID-19 than rabies and Zika, given its known structure.  Vaccines will have a longer timeline for development than plasmids and antibodies, and the long-term benefit is currently unknown. Vaccine economics will be determined by COVID-19 seasonality.  The biggest challenges to vaccine development are clinical trials and manufacturing. The virus replicates quickly in animal models and there is no certainty on replication in the human model. It may be difficult to find an effective animal model for COVID-19 as the sensitivity of animals to the new strain is unknown.

Diagnostic Testing:  Wide distribution of tests will be challenged by the need to validate in-house testing in hospital laboratories that will face a personnel crunch.  Uptake of testing kits will largely depend on the molecular diagnostic company’s historic relationship with labs, who will be seeking to manage extra instrument placement costs.  Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instruments may be more favourable than NGS-based and CRISPR-based platforms in cost, turnaround, availability in medical laboratories and ability to test for large volumes.

Healthcare Supply Chain Impacts:  Backfilling active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplies will take around three months for standard manufactured products, and around 6-9 months for custom-manufactured products. Most manufacturers’ average stock is around six months, but they had higher-than-average stocks due to the holiday season.  Pharmaceutical distribution is no longer an issue in China, despite some personnel shortages. However, the US supply shortage will become more severe.  US FDA inspections and drug approvals will take 1.5-2x longer than usual until the situation normalises.  For the Ebola outbreak, distributors and manufacturers were told what institutions to sell to. Governments may eventually take a similar approach for COVID-19.

To read our COVID-19 – Implications for the Global Healthcare Ecosystem report in full, please complete this short form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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