AstraZeneca obtains $1 billion from USA to help fund coronavirus vaccine

Daniel Fowler
May 26, 2020

Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the studies "are progressing very well", and said the next phases will "test whether it can provide protection in the wider population".

But a leading member of the project said yesterday that the lower transmission of Covid-19 in the community now leaves the trial with only a 50 per cent chance of success.

The vaccine is being developed by the University of Oxford, which started human testing in April.

According to Oxford's team, safety trials in monkeys for both vaccines demonstrated "clear promise, with high efficacy in each case against lung disease, and research on both vaccines should continue as planned".

"We said earlier in the year that there was an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September".

The Oxford University adenoviral candidate, AZD1222, has completed its first round of dosing in trials and results are scheduled to be produced later this month. Here are details of the companies that have a tie up with Oxford University.

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It has redirected a £300,000 government grant - originally earmarked for work on a Zika vaccine - to its COVID-19 endeavour, but has applied for another £5 million in state support. They are in talks with the Serum Institute of India and other potential partners to increase the rate of product distribution all around the world.

Dr Melanie Saville, Cepi's director of vaccine development, said it is pertinent that a large number of vaccines are in the making, adding that "ultimately there would need to be more than one vaccine to cover the world".

Another company to join hands with Oxford University in providing GMP manufacturing services is HALIX BV.

The Oxford University team in charge of developing a coronavirus vaccine said a decline in the infection rate will make it increasingly hard to prove whether it's been successful, the Telegraph reported. In addition, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned that the vaccine might never be found.

Various senior ministers in the British Government have also warned that there is "no guarantee" that a vaccine will be found, and that funding research into other drug treatments is equally vital to help combat the impact of the pandemic on the United Kingdom population. But with current results of it not being successful in preventing infection in animals, the vaccine development has hit a roadblock.

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