Oxford Covid-19 vaccine could be the first to be available to Indians: 5 key developments
With the race towards finding a vaccine against Covid-19 intensifying by the day, the question remains when will the world get the much-awaited antidote to the deadly contagion. Last week, in an interview to an American broadcaster, top US expert Anthony Fauci said that he believes the vaccine should be out by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Fauci said that even half an effective vaccine would be enough to get the pandemic in control by the end of 2021.
Here are the key developments in the quest to developing the Covid-19 vaccine:
• Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate could be the first to be available to the Indian population if it gets the required clearances by the end of this year. Pune-based vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) has already received a nod from for India’s top drug regulatory body for conducting phase-II and III clinical trials on the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.
• Australia has secured access to a “promising” coronavirus vaccine, prime minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday. This comes as Australia recently sealed a deal with Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to receive the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University. Morrison said that country would manufacture it and offer free doses to the entire population.
• State-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoPharm said its Covid-19 vaccine will be commercially available by the end of the year. Liu Jingzhen, the chairman of the company, told a Chinese daily that the vaccine would cost less than 1,000 yuan ($140). Jingzhen also said that the vaccine would be administered in two shots in a gap of 28 days.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a global pact aimed at providing easy and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccine to countries across the globe. The COVAX global vaccines facility will drive funds from wealthier countries and nonprofits to develop the vaccine and distribute it equitably around the world. The programme is aimed at delivering 2 billion doses of effective, approved Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next year.
• American biotechnology company Moderna, which is the first company in the United States to conduct a Phase III clinical trial of the potential Covid-19 vaccine, is aiming to enrol 30,000 volunteers for its trial, a CNN report stated.
(With inputs from agencies)