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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

Dec 9, 2020 - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine data hacked from European Medicines Agency breach

A nurse in London prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 8. Photo: Frank Augstein/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

BioNTech and Pfizer announced Wednesday the European Medicines Agency was targeted by a cyberattack and regulatory documents related to their coronavirus vaccine submission were accessed.

Why it matters: The EMA is currently working to authorize coronavirus vaccines for use in European Union member states, and said it is launching an investigation into the attack. The hack is the latest in a series of attacks and warnings about cyber threats against vaccine-producers and public health agencies.

Dec 9, 2020 - Health

Pennsylvania governor tests positive for coronavirus

Gov. Tom Wolf at a press conference on Oct. 1. Photo: Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group/Daily Local News via Getty Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), 72, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and is experiencing no symptoms as he self-isolates, he tweeted Wednesday.

The big picture: Current coronavirus hospitalizations and cases are skyrocketing in Pennsylvania, as well as in many states across the U.S., per the COVID Tracking Project. Wolf tweeted on Tuesday that "hospitalizations are reaching critical levels" in his state.

Updated 3 mins ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.