India’s Wockhardt to supply millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to UK

More than 150 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to stop the pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 August 2020

India’s Wockhardt to supply millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to UK

  • The company has reserved fill-and-finish capacity — the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them — as part of an agreement with the UK government

BENGALURU: Indian drugmaker Wockhardt Ltd. will supply millions of doses of multiple COVID-19 vaccines to the UK, including the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, it said on Monday.
The company has reserved fill-and-finish capacity — the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them — as part of an agreement with the UK government, it said.
Shares in Wockhardt jumped 10% after the news in a downcast Mumbai market.
The UK government has also reserved one fill-and-finish production line at a Wockhardt subsidiary in Wrexham, Wales for its exclusive use for the next 18 months to secure supply.
More than 150 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to stop the pandemic, with 25 in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.
Coronavirus cases globally have crossed 18 million, including more than 688,000 deaths.


UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

Updated 58 sec ago

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

  • PM Boris Johnson had previously said evidence showed higher mortality rate 
  • Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant carries with it a higher mortality rate

LONDON: The discovery of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in the UK should not alter the response to the pandemic, scientists say, despite fears that it could prove more deadly.
Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant, thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible, carries with it a higher mortality rate.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed there was “some evidence” the variant had “a higher degree of mortality” at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 22, with the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, adding it could be up to 30 percent more deadly. 
That came after a briefing by the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said there was a “realistic possibility” of an increased risk of death.
Prof. Peter Horby, Nervtag’s chairman, said: “Scientists are looking at the possibility that there is increased severity ... and after a week of looking at the data we came to the conclusion that it was a realistic possibility.
“We need to be transparent about that. If we were not telling people about this we would be accused of covering it up.”
But infectious disease modeller Prof. Graham Medley, one of the authors of the Nervtag briefing, told the BBC: “The question about whether it is more dangerous in terms of mortality I think is still open.
He added: “In terms of making the situation worse it is not a game changer. It is a very bad thing that is slightly worse.”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling for the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he was “quite surprised” Johnson had made the claim.
“I just worry that where we report things pre-emptively where the data are not really particularly strong,” he added.