COVID-19 vaccine candidates enter late stage clinical trials

Grant Boone
July 31, 2020

The Financial Times (FT) has quoted unnamed sources as saying that the USA biotechnology company Moderna plans to price its COVID-19 vaccine at about $50-$60 per course.

The fact that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in the nose is seen as particularly crucial in preventing it from being transmitted onwards to others.

Scientists at Imperial College London say they are immunizing hundreds of people with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early trial after seeing no worrying safety problems in a small number vaccinated so far.

This week, the company entered the final testing phase of its vaccine.

According to Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII), as per the arrangement with AstraZeneca, SII will be making one billion doses of Covishield vaccine over the next one year for India and other low-and-middle-income countries (GAVI countries). AstraZeneca, for example, has signed an agreement with the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy for a vaccine that would cost between $3 and $4 per dose.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech which also started its phase 2/3 clinical trials this week had signed a pre-order deal with the USA government at $19.50 per dose, FT reported. It has also recommended that the clinical trial sites being proposed for the study be "distributed across pan-India". A Moderna spokesman said the company was in discussions with governments about potential supply of the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, but did not provide any details on pricing "given the confidential nature of the discussions and contracts".

Downsized, Hajj 2020 begins in Saudi Arabia
Thirty per cent of them are Saudi citizens while the remaining seventy per cent are foreign nationals residing in the kingdom. In March, Riyadh suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage, as the number of global coronavirus cases continued to climb.

The authors reported that the vaccine also induced the production of a different immune cell known as T-cells that may have helped boost the overall response.

The UAE health authorities recently issued a permit for up to 15,000 volunteers to take part in the trials.

Shattock said there were numerous coronavirus vaccines now in clinical trials, and he predicted that at least some of them would prove to be effective.

The Trump administration anticipates launching a far-reaching promotions campaign by November to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, contingent on evidence that a successful vaccine will be available roughly by year end, a senior administration official said.

During the trial - a phase 1 clinical trial sponsored by NIAID - the macaques were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 four weeks after their second injection.

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