AstraZeneca to begin supply of Covid-19 vaccine in September

Grant Boone
May 21, 2020

After President Donald Trump demanded a vaccine, the U.S. Department of Health agreed to provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate AstraZeneca's vaccine development and secure 300 million doses for the United States.

AstraZeneca said it was also working with global distribution partners including the Serum Institute of India and promised that it would make the Oxford vaccine "widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner".

Meanwhile, researchers at University of Oxford in England are testing vaccines in humans, and have previously said a vaccine could be available for emergency use in the fall.

France has slammed Paris-based drugs giant Sanofi for suggesting the U.S. would receive its vaccine first, as world leaders demand that the science should be shared among nations.

AstraZeneca has said it has the capacity to manufacture 1bn doses of the University of Oxford's potential Covid-19 vaccine and will begin supply in September if clinical trials are successful.

The company said supply agreements for 400 million doses have been made so far. Ministers have promised that Britain will get first access to the vaccine.

The firm noted that it recently joined forces with the United Kingdom government to support Oxford University's vaccine, and had progressed "rapidly" in its efforts to expand access around the world, adding that it would supply the United Kingdom from September.

The head of Sanofi angered the French government earlier this month when he said vaccine doses produced in the United States could go to US patients first, given the country had supported the research financially.

The company said it was working closely with global bodies including the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine.

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

AstraZeneca office in South San Francisco, California, US.

It said it recognised the vaccine might not work but if results from the early stage tests were positive, they would lead to late stage trials in several countries.

The pharmaceutical firm said it has secured the first agreements for at least 400 million doses of the vaccine.

Companies such as Moderna have indicated preliminary results show people who received the shots are developing an immunity to the virus, and Inovio and Pfizer have begun early tests to determine the safety of the vaccines, the report said.

But the company said it was committed to advancing the clinical programme.

Shares in AstraZeneca have ballooned 42% in the past two months as the drugmaker joined the list of companies engaged in the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

USA -based Inovio Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday its experimental vaccine produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in mice and guinea pigs.

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