Image Credit: Gulf News

BioNTech, Fosun launch another COVID-19 vaccine trial

BERLIN: Germany's BioNTech and China's Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical on Wednesday announced the start of another COVID-19 vaccine trial in China with a total of 144 participants.

"The study is designed to support the regulatory approval process for the Chinese market and intends to confirm that the safety and immunogenicity profile observed in participants from the German and U.S. trials is comparable to that of Chinese participants," BioNTech said in a statement.

AstraZeneca in deal with Kangtai Bio

  • Deal involves supply of AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine
  • 100 million doses production capacity signed in China

BEIJING: AstraZeneca PLC has signed an exclusive framework agreement with China's Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products to supply its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in mainland China, the British pharmaceutical giant said on Thursday.

A woman holds a small bottle labelleed with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. “We have the measles vaccine. You get two doses and you’re protected for life. That is a dynamite vaccine,” Dr William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, said Image Credit: REUTERS

To meet market demand in China, Shenzhen Kangtai is obliged to make sure it has an annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental shot AZD1222, which AstraZeneca co-developed with researchers at Oxford University, by the end of this year, and a capacity of at least 200 million doses by the end of next year, AstraZeneca said in a statement on the Chinese social media site WeChat.

The two companies will also explore the possiblity of cooperation on the vaccine candidate in other markets, AstraZeneca said.

Brazil decree to provide $356 million for coronavirus vaccine

BRASILIA: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Thursday to provide 1.9 billion reais ($356 million) in funds to purchase and eventually produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University researchers.

Brazil's Acting Health Minister General Eduardo Pazuello said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the most promising in the world to fight the virus and the technology will be acquired by Brazil, which is facing the worst outbreak outside the United States.

On May 26, 2020, US-based biotechnology company Novavax said they have started enrolling participants in Australia for a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. Image Credit: AFP

Takeda, Novavax announce collaboration NVX-CoV2373

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd and Novavax announced a collaboration for Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Japan. The deal provides for a capacity to manufacture over 250 million doses of the shot per year. The deal involves partnership to develop, manufacture and commercialise the NVX-COV2373 in Japan.

Novavax will licence and transfer manufacturing technologies to enable Takeda to manufacture the vaccine antigen to receive funding from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to support manufacturing.

Moscow expands vaccine campaign as drug nears approval

Moscow: Some medical staff and city government workers in Moscow are being offered the opportunity to inoculate against the coronavirus as Russia is poised to register what it says is the world's first Covid-19 vaccine.

At least one hospital is preparing lists of employees who want to be vaccinated with the drug developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, according to a doctor who received an invitation. A city government official said similar notices inviting volunteers for inoculation had been sent out to staff there.

An invitation seen by Bloomberg states that the vaccine is safe and has passed clinical trials. The Moscow City Government's press service declined to comment.

The Gamaleya vaccine developed with the Russian Direct Investment Fund is expected to get conditional registration this month, requiring trials on another 1,600 people, and production is likely to start in September, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told President Vladimir Putin at a July 29 meeting. Regulators plan to register the vaccine by August 12, according to a person familiar with the process.

The developers are touting the vaccine as safe and effective amid a global race to develop protection against the deadly virus that's killed more than 700,000 worldwide and wreaked economic havoc as nations have locked down in response.

Still, the testing data hasn't been published and the speed with which Russia is moving to make the vaccine available has raised questions in other countries.

Only 30% of UK population 'wold definitely take virus vaccine'

The U.K. will need more than just a simple communication campaign to ensure people get a potential coronavirus vaccine after research showed that less than a third of the population would definitely seek to be inoculated.

A survey by King's College London and Ipsos Mori released Sunday showed British people who are skeptical about science and authority were more likely to say they'd refuse a vaccine.

While 43% said they'd be very likely or fairly likely to get a vaccine, if one becomes available, 16% said they are unlikely to or definitely won't and 11% didn't know.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King's College London, said the study revealed that the government would need to conduct a nuanced campaign to tackle misinformation. Of the 2,237 people surveyed, vaccine skepticism was higher in people who said wearing face masks is bad for people's health and that there's too much fuss being made about the pandemic, which has killed more than 46,000 people in the U.K.

Those who rely on WhatsApp for a great deal of their Covid-19 information are also unlikely to get a potential coronavirus vaccine. People between the ages of 55 and 75 were twice as likely to say they'd get a vaccine than those between 16 and 34.

"The study shows how uncertain large proportions of the population are about vaccines, and how much this is tied up with where they get their information, but also their broader underlying beliefs and values," Duffy said in an email.

"If and hopefully when a vaccine becomes available, this means a simple communications approach is not going to be enough on its own - we'll need tailored messages for different groups, and to engage social media platforms to contain and remove blatant conspiracy theories."