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Health Highlights: July 2, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Promising Results for Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine in Early Testing: Pfizer

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine yielded promising results in early testing, according to Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Preliminary findings show that the 45 study volunteers who received either a low or medium dose, in two shots about a month apart, had immune responses in the range expected to protect against the disease, the Associated Press reported.

The results have been submitted for publication in a scientific journal but not yet reviewed.

Pfizer and BioNTech are working on four experimental vaccines. About 15 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in human testing worldwide, with several poised to begin large, last-stage studies to determine if they're actually effective, the AP reported.

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U.S. Grab of Only COVID-19 Treatment Outrages Health Experts

The United States' deal with Gilead Sciences to scoop up nearly all of the world's supply of the only drug licensed to treat COVID-19 has outraged health experts.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services said it secured 500,000 treatments of the antiviral drug remdesivir through September, representing 100% of Gilead's July production capacity and 90% of its capacity in August and September, the Associated Press reported.

This type of selfish behavior sets a dangerous precedent for attempts to share scarce treatments during the pandemic, health experts warned.

"It so clearly signals an unwillingness to cooperate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights," Ohid Yaqub, a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex in the U.K., said in a statement, the AP reported.

"I have never seen anything like that. That a company chooses to sell their stock to only one country. It's very strange and quite inappropriate," Thomas Senderovitz, head of the Danish Medicines Agency, told Danish broadcaster DR.

A "a stronger framework" is needed to ensure fair prices and access to key medicines for people and nations worldwide, Dr. Peter Horby, who is conducting a large clinical trial testing several treatments for COVID-19, told the BBC, the AP reported.

He suggested that since it's an American company, Gilead was likely under "certain political pressures locally."

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