Covid-19 vaccine update: Bharat Biotech candidate launch and AstraZeneca’s hopes
A worldwide search continues for a vaccine to treat the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as the global caseload of the virus is swiftly moving towards the 50 million mark, currently standing at more than 49 million, as per worldometers. The United States, the country worst-hit by the pandemic, continues to log more than 100,000 new daily cases of the infection.
In the latest update for a Covid-19 vaccine, the launch of a vaccine candidate, which is being developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited, could take place by early next year, a senior government scientist hoped. The firm had earlier said it hoped to launch the candidate by the second quarter of 2021.
Here are the latest Covid-19 vaccine updates:
(1.) The launch of a Covid-19 vaccine, which is being developed by Hyderabad-headquartered Bharat Biotech in partnership with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), could take place by next February. This after a senior ICMR scientist told news agency Reuters that the vaccine candidate, called COVAXIN, “has shown good efficacy.” The scientist, Rajni Kant, further said, “It is expected that by the beginning of the next year, February or March, something would be available.” Last-stage trials of COVAXIN are set to begin this month.
(2.) British-Swedish multinational firm AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot has said the firm hopes to prove its vaccine candidate’s effectiveness by year-end. Speaking on a conference call with analysts, Soriot said AstraZeneca would be ready to supply millions of doses of its vaccine across the world, by January. The firm is working with the University of Oxford on a vaccine candidate called ‘AZD1222,’ which is in late-stage trials in the United States.
(3.) Hungary’s government has said it will start importing small quantities of Russian made Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in December for final testing and licensing. Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister said a Hungarian company may be able to switch from flu shot production to production of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine. Russia has agreed to supply doses of Sputnik V to both Brazil and Argentina as well.
(4.) Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced the country had agreed to purchase 50 million more doses of two more potential Covid-19 vaccines. While 40 million doses will be purchased from Novovax, the remaining ten million will be purchased from Pfizer and BioNTech, Morrison announced. In September, Australia had agreed to buy vaccines from AstraZeneca and CSL Limited, should the trials prove successful.
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