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Pfizer tallied a 29% profit margin in Q2. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Drug sales at Pfizer dipped 11% in the second quarter, totaling $11.8 billion, but the pharmaceutical giant still reported more than $3.4 billion in net profits, or $0.78 in adjusted earnings per share — 15% above what Wall Street expected.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic only had a marginal effect on Pfizer, as the declining revenue was mostly due to lower sales from drugs that lost their patent protection. The focus is now on Pfizer's and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine candidate, which started its late-stage clinical trial this week.

Between the lines: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC the company hopes to get federal "emergency use authorization" for the vaccine as soon as October.

  • That authorization is not the same thing as full FDA approval, and instead would allow the vaccine to be used mostly in high-risk occupations and settings.
  • All of this also assumes the vaccine proves to be safe and effective. Early data indicate there's some hope the vaccine works, but it's unclear how long immunity would last.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 4, 2020 - Health

Air pollution connected to higher COVID-19 death rates

Smokestacks in Florida. Photo: Getty Images

A new study of more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. finds a correlation between higher levels of particulate air pollution and higher death rates from COVID-19.

Why it matters: COVID-19 may be caused by the novel coronavirus, but the outcome of an infection is influenced by everything from age to race to the environment. Understanding the connection between disease and pollution can help us address those risks going forward.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Dave Lawler, author of World
Nov 4, 2020 - World

Italy imposes regional lockdown as coronavirus cases spike

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (c) made the call. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Much of Italy will be placed under a strict lockdown as of Friday in the most drastic steps the country has taken to fight the coronavirus since it led the world into lockdown nearly eight months ago.

The big picture: Italy managed to keep the spread of the virus largely under control for months after a brutal first wave. But like much of Europe, it's currently recording unprecedented daily case counts and scrambling to avoid a return to overcrowded hospitals and climbing death tolls in the coming weeks.

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