WHO Says AstraZeneca, Modena Leading Vaccine Race

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

This week AstraZeneca signed its tenth supply and manufacturing agreement.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine candidate is the most advanced vaccine in development today.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by researchers at the University of Oxford will likely provide protection against the disease for a year, the CEO of the British drug maker told Belgian radio station Bel RTL this month.

Last month, the University of Oxford announced the start of a UK phase II / III trial of the vaccine, dubbed AZD1222 (formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), in approximately 10,000 adult volunteers. Other late-stage trials are expected to start in several countries.
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Swaminathan had said last week that about 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 too far” from AstraZeneca, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of whom have entered clinical trials.

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

He called on drug makers to consider collaborating on the 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 over the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease. The initiative is called ACT-Accelerator.

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