Scientists optimistic coronavirus vaccine could be produced in record time
May 22 2020
AstraZeneca also said it had received support of more than $1bn (£0.82bn) from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting in the autumn.
More than 40 percent of the people who weren't interested in getting the vaccine believed it was riskier than the virus itself and half of those people said they were anxious about the speed it was being developed.
The new coronavirus has so far infected almost 5 million people and killed more than 300,000 across the globe.
Researchers at the University of Oxford began testing the vaccine candidate, now known as AZD1222, in healthy human volunteers in southern England on April 23.
AstraZeneca said it was in talks with governments around the world to increase access and production - for example with the Serum Institute of India - although it added that it was also speaking to various organisations on the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine.
Under the deal with the U.S. government, its Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will pay up to $1.2 billion to support advanced clinical studies and other development activities, including scaled-up manufacturing to speed up the roll out of the potential vaccine.
"This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed's work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021", Health Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. It uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
After demands by President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Health agreed to provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate AstraZeneca'sAZN.L vaccine development and secure 300 million doses of the vaccines for the United States.
AstraZeneca said the COVID-19 vaccine it was testing would include a planned late-stage clinical trial with 30,000 participants.
The WHO has backed an initiative to expand vaccine access to all countries by easing intellectual property restrictions. A vaccine developed by the company will probably go to Americans first if the company can successfully deliver one, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said in last week in an interview with Bloomberg News. Data from the trial is expected shortly.
AZD1222 is only one of many vaccines that are being studied for safety and efficacy, a positive position to be in, according to Fauci.
The company said it expects to start supplying the United Kingdom in September even as it acknowledged the possibility that the vaccine may not work.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said during a March 30 briefing that he thinks the vaccine will be ready for the public in 12 to 18 months.
US-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday its experimental vaccine produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in mice and guinea pigs.