Although the world is slowly starting to regain a bit of normalcy, a vaccine against COVID-19 is still essential to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. With that, people can now go back to normal and meet family and friends once again–and that is what pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is working on currently.
AstraZeneca Already Producing COVID-19 Vaccines
In a report by BBC, the company’s potential coronavirus vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials to see whether it is indeed useful and what kind of immunity it offers.
Nevertheless, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot believes the firm should start producing the said vaccine to meet the doses they initially promised to provide, which is up to two billion doses.
The company has already signed two new contracts this Thursday, May 4.
“We are starting to manufacture this vaccine right now – and we have to have it ready to be used by the time we have the results,” Soriot said.
Speaking to BBC’s Today, the company’s CEO has confirmed that production has already started and that they want to be “as fast as possible,” although he did say that there are risks that come with their decision.
“It’s a financial risk and that financial risk is the vaccine doesn’t work. Then all the materials, all the vaccines we’ve manufactured will be wasted,” he said.
Additionally, Soriot added that the company has no intention of profiting from the COVID-19 vaccine during this pandemic.
According to Soriot, the company will be able to know how effective the vaccine, which is called AZD1222, by August.
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One of the new partnerships the company has forged is with the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is the world’s largest manufacturer of various vaccines by volume, while the other contract is with billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife.
The contract with Gates includes a partnership with two charities that the Gates are backing up, including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as well as the GAVI vaccines alliance.
These charities will help find production facilities that can help produce and distribute 33 million doses of the AZD1222 COVID-19 vaccine.
AstraZeneca is hoping that the vaccines will be ready for delivery by the end of the year.
Nevertheless, Richard Hatchett, the chief executive of CEPI, did say that there is still the possibility that the vaccine will not work.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s partnership with Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest manufacturer of various vaccines by volume, aims to provide half of the doses too low and middle-income countries.
They aim to provide 400 million doses to these countries by the end of 2020.
Besides working for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the company is also working on several drugs that help with heart illnesses as well as cancer.
In a recent report by TechTimes, the drugs are doing well, with the US approving one of the drugs for pancreatic cancer medication and is in the process of getting approval from the European Medicines Agency.
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