AstraZeneca, Modena leading vaccine race: WHO

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Geneva: AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist said.

This week, AstraZeneca signed its tenth supply-and-manufacturing deal.

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan stated that the AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine candidate is the most advanced vaccine currently in terms of development.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by researchers from the Oxford University will likely provide protection against the disease for one year, the British drug maker”s CEO told Belgian radio station Bel RTL this month.

The Oxford University last month announced the start of a Phase II/III UK trial of the vaccine, named AZD1222 (formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), in about 10,000 adult volunteers. Other late-stage trials are due to begin in a number of countries.

Last week, Swaminathan had said that nearly 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of next year.

Swaminathan said Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate was “not far behind” AstraZeneca’s, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials.

The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, as well as with Indian researchers, Swaminathan said.

She called for drugmakers to consider collaborating on Covid-19 vaccine trials, similar to the WHO’s ongoing Solidarity trial for drugs. A WHO-led coalition fighting the pandemic on Friday asked government and private sector donors to help raise $31.3 billion in the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease. The initiative is called the ACT-Accelerator.

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