Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks, whose company has a coronavirus treatment in Phase 3 of clinical trials, told "Axios on HBO" that it'd be smart to share with other countries rather than going America first.

The big picture: 66% of Americans don't want to share a vaccine right away with the rest of the world if the U.S. gets there first, according to a recent Harris poll, Axios' Sam Baker reported last week.

  • Ricks, incoming chair of the industry group PhRMA, told Mike Allen the goal would be to "protect as much of the planet as we can, versus looking after only one country by itself — creating an island, which would be, I think, illusory."

But Ricks made a 2-part case for why that is shortsighted.

  • Reason 1: "[I]f an individual country exceeds, let's say there's a category of people ... that have the highest risk and we vaccinate all of them. Should we go to the next category of risk or share it with others who have that same, I think humanitarian principles would say we should share at that point."
  • Reason 2: "[W]e have to recognize back to the point on public health that this is a shared risk, not an individual risk. So if in an imaginary world we had protected our risk groups A, B and C, but no one else had protected any of theirs, meaning other countries, we still run the risk of people traveling to the US and infecting more and more people.

Between the lines: Ricks noted that the FDA is using a "low bar" for evaluating COVID-19 vaccines, which he defended as "probably appropriate" because of the urgency of the pandemic.

  • "[T]he FDA standard ... for vaccine effectiveness is a 50 percent response, meaning that half the people have an adequate response to retain antibodies and mount their own immune response to the disease without getting sick initially."

The bottom line: "I think the strongest global interest is to vaccinate as many high risk people as possible," Ricks said.

Go deeper

11 hours ago - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.