AstraZeneca, a British drug manufacturer doubled production capacity for its potential vaccine for Covid-19, after striking a number of deals that include two health organisations backed by Bill and Melinda Gates. The deals with Bill Gates backed organizations worth $750 million is to guarantee early supply of the vaccine to lower income countries.
The company increased its manufacturing capacity for the potential vaccine named AZD1222, to 2 billion doses. The vaccine (AZD1222), previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca.
Under the deals agreed in June, the company will supply 300 million doses of the Potential vaccine to Coalition for Epidermic Preparednes Innovations (CEPI) and Vaccine Alliance GAVI, according to AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot. Delivery of the 300 million doses is set to start by the end of 2020.
The deals are backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and aim to quell concerns that the company was committing all initial supplies of the vaccine to the developed world.
The potential vaccine is currently under phase trial according to data available on the World Health Organization Website. It is one of the 23 candidate vaccines under clinical evaluation.
- Read more; Covid-19 Vaccine Trial by Pfizer show signs of hope
- China to start Covid-19 Vaccine trial in Brazil
Soriot also said that AstraZeneca had also agreed a license with the Serum Institute of India, world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, to supply 1 billion doses “principally for low-income and middle-income countries.”
Since India is in the category of these countries, it is unclear, what quantity of the potential vaccine will be kept for use in the country. However, the remainder will be distributed by GAVI to lower income countries.
Other deals the drug maker has signed include the supply of the first 300 million doses of the potential vaccine to the U.S according to the agreement it has with the White House. The deal with White House which backs testing and production is said to be worth over $1 billion.
The company also signed a deal with UK to supply 100 million doses to country.
AstraZeneca also said it has reached agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA) spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands to supply up to 400 million doses of the potential vaccine by the end of 2020.
The IVA is committed to providing equitable access to all participating countries across Europe.
Read more; UK bans Huawei from its 5G Networks
The potential vaccine is still under clinical trial and evidence of immunity to the new coronavirus is yet to be produced in ongoing trials with result expected in August.
However according to the CEO, said production will start nonetheless to be ready for mass roll-out once regulatory approval is given.
Soriot said, “you can’t spend your time wondering if is it going to work. We have to commit. That’s what we do in the industry, we bet on something. We are completely committed to the vaccine programme to deliver,” according to World Economic Forum report.
On Tuesday, IQVIA Holdings Inc, Life sciences company said it would collaborate with AstraZeneca to speed up clinical studies of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
The agreement includes an expansive study of trial participants and will use IQVIA’s virtual trial solutions that would make parts of the study remote.
The company is a global, science-led Biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology.
AstraZeneca is based in Cambridge, UK and operates in over 100 countries.
Cases of Covid-19 rose by 463 in Nigeria on Tuesday while number of deaths increased by 10. Total of 33,316 cases have been confirmed in the country with 13,792 recoveries and 754 deaths.
However, the number of infections in Nigeria is under-reported due to inadequate number of testing in the country. Total of 186,309 samples only have been tested in Nigeria since the outbreak began according to NCDC.
Globally, 13,323,530 cases have been confirmed with 7,399,310 recoveries and 578,628 deaths according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.