Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford University, AstraZeneca start advanced trials of COVID-19 drugs

Moderna chairman on the early results of a coronavirus vaccine trial

Earlier this week, drugmaker AstraZeneca said it had secured its first agreements for 400 million doses of the Oxford-developed vaccine, bolstered by a $1 billion investment from a US government agency, for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting in the fall.

"The speed at which this new vaccine has advanced into late-stage clinical trials is testament to Oxford's groundbreaking scientific research", AstraZeneca executive Mene Pangalos said. Countries across the world are pinning their hopes on the Oxford University's vaccine with pharma behemoths like AstraZeneca already aboard for the expeditious production of the vaccine.

As of Friday morning, more than 5.12 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 1,577,785 of which are in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

For example, among those who said they were "not very" interested in taking the vaccine, 29% said they would be more interested if the FDA approved it. The company thanked the United States and UK governments for their "substantial support to accelerate the development and production of the vaccine". "You're going to have a lot of big announcements over the next week or two" on therapeutics. From the vaccine candidates we have in therace against COVID, the Oxford vaccine is progressing at an wonderful pace.

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"We are scaling up on a conservative basis of about 4 to 5 million doses a month to begin with", Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla told Reuters, adding the company was in discussions with AstraZeneca.

There are now no approved treatments or vaccines for Covid-19.

Phase III will assess how the vaccine works in large numbers of people above the age of 18, and how well the vaccine prevents people becoming infected and ill with COVID-19. Only half of black Americans, who represent a disproportionate percentage of coronavirus deaths, said they were somewhat or very interested in a vaccine, perhaps reflecting memories of an infamous USA government study that left black men deliberately untreated for syphilis.

Other leading vaccine candidates, including one from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. and another by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, simply inject a piece of the coronavirus genetic code that instructs the body itself to produce spike protein that primes the immune system.

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