Health Care

AstraZeneca says it's ready to supply potential vaccine in September

AstraZeneca says it's ready to supply potential vaccine in September”

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Thursday it has booked orders for at least 400 million doses of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus being developed by the University of Oxford.

AstraZeneca plans to ship its first deliveries of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in September after it received more than $1bn (£820m) from a U.S. government agency to boost development of the medicine. A vaccine is considered key to ending the coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 90,000 Americans and devastated the USA economy.

Although still at an early stage, the Oxford prototype has been one of the world's fastest-moving potential solutions to combat the spread of the pandemic.

Some 300 million of the 400 million doses are set to go to the US, where the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was collaborating with AstraZeneca to make the first ones available as early as October.

It hopes to supply the vaccine to the United Kingdom from September.

"A Phase I/II clinical trial of AZD1222 began last month to assess safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years across several trial centres in southern England", the company said. Earlier this week, the university said preliminary results might not be available till mid-June, when more extensive trials would begin.

"Data from the trial is expected shortly which, if positive, would lead to late-stage trials in a number of countries".

It said the vaccine had produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in the animals.

The Oxford vaccine works differently.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP virus.

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Its development program will involve a Phase 3 clinical trial with 30,000 participants, as well as a pediatric trial.

"I must warn that there's also the possibility of negative consequences where certain vaccines can actually enhance the negative effect of the infection", he said.

The investment will accelerate the development and production of the vaccine, AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said.

Concern has been growing over so-called vaccine nationalism - the prospect of drug makers receiving support from their own governments that enables the richest nations to develop the strongest inoculation regimes.

AstraZeneca said it had now finalised its licence agreement with Oxford University for the recombinant adenovirus vaccine.

"We are racing with the time to develop the effective vaccine, it is the first priority not only for China but all the countries in the world to find this vaccine to save more lives".

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In addition to working with the US, the drugmaker is also in discussions with global groups such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization for allocation and distribution of the potential vaccine worldwide.

The contract is part of the Trump administration's "Operation Warp Speed" initiative to make a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine widely available by January.

Under the new public-private partnership, the HHS office known as BARDA can provide up to $1.2 billion to support advanced clinical studies, transfer of technology to speed up manufacturing the vaccine even as testing continues, and scaled-up manufacturing.

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