WHO identifies Oxford’s ‘AstraZeneca’ as front-runner for COVID-19 vaccine

The WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan was quoted as saying that AstraZeneca has more scope given their plans and vaccine trials

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Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine or medicine for the treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Currently, around 13 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are under clinical trials to fight the coronavirus infection, which has affected millions of people across the world. Between these vaccines, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine- AstraZeneca as a front-runner. The WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan was quoted as saying in a Reuters report that AstraZeneca has more scope given their plans and vaccine trials.

AstraZeneca by Oxford has begun the third phase of the trial and has also signed its 10th deal to supply and manufacture. In an agreement of around $127 million signed by Brazil, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be produced locally. Elcio Franco, Brazil’s public health official said that Brazil will first produce as many as 30 million doses of the vaccine, where half will be made in December 2020 and the remaining will be done in January 2021.

The COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be produced by a local vaccine maker Fiocruz and will initially cater to the high-risk groups of elderly and people having comorbidities along with health and security personals. The vaccine is expected to provide resilience and protection against the coronavirus infection for one year.

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The US firm Moderna Inc is also a strong candidate who is working on manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines. This vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 after the initiation of the second phase of clinical trials, has signed a deal with Catalent Inc. Under the deal, 100 million doses will be manufactured in Q3 this year.

As a partner, Catalent will look after the packaging, labelling, storage as well as distribution of this vaccine. The company has also joined hands with Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, the last stage of Moderna’s vaccine will begin next month on 30,000 people

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