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

Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill virus on airplanes

Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

New York reports most coronavirus cases since May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an Oct. 6 press briefing. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York reported over 2,000 positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday — the most infections seen in the state since May, per COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and health department data.

The big picture: Hospitalizations have been creeping back up in New York, alongside 38 other states. New York is currently seeing more than 900 hospitalizations a day, the CTP reports.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.

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