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Nurses screen patients for COVID-19 virus testing at a drive-up location outside Medstar St. Mary's Hospital on March 17, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pharma company Bayer will soon make a large donation to the U.S. government of a drug that has shown some promise in helping patients suffering from the novel coronavirus, according to a senior Health and Human Services official and another source with direct knowledge.

Why it matters: It doesn't hurt to have a potential treatment on hand, but we're still a very long way from having an approved, clinically tested treatment for the coronavirus.

The big picture: Early evidence suggests that chloroquine — an inexpensive anti-malarial drug — may work just as well, if not even better, than remdesivir, a drug owned by Gilead, which is undergoing clinical trials for treatment of the coronavirus.

  • A study published in Nature found that "remdesivir and chloroquine are highly effective in the control of 2019-nCoV infection in vitro."
  • "Chloroquine shouldn’t be left out of the discussion of candidate COVID-19 therapies and may actually be leading the pack," Raymond James wrote in a research note earlier this month.

Yes, but: This doesn't change the need for massive coronavirus efforts, as there is no proven coronavirus treatment or vaccine.

Go deeper

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

Biden to nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary

Photo: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary, four people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Yellen, 74, will bring instant economic celebrity to Biden’s team and, if confirmed, she will not only be the first female Treasury Secretary but also the first person to have held all three economic power positions in the federal government: the chair of Council of Economic Advisers, the chair of Federal Reserve and the Treasury Secretary.

3 hours ago - Podcasts

Bob Nelsen on AstraZeneca and his plan to revolutionize biotech

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday reported promising efficacy data for their COVID-19 vaccine, which has less stringent storage requirements than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and may be distributed earlier in developing countries.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing with Bob Nelsen, a successful biotech investor who on Monday launched Resilience, a giant new pharma production platform that he believes will prepare America for its next major health challenges.

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