AstraZeneca pens deal to produce tens of millions more vaccine doses

This July 18, 2020, file photo, shows the AstraZeneca offices in Cambridge, England. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 01 September 2020

AstraZeneca pens deal to produce tens of millions more vaccine doses

  • Announcement follows news it is starting final human trials

LONDON: AstraZeneca has signed a £50 million ($67 million) deal to produce tens of millions of additional doses of the vaccine it is developing in partnership with Oxford University.

The supply deal was signed with local biotech company Oxford Biomedica, and will provide a significant boost to AstraZeneca’s vaccine-manufacturing capacity.

The news of the deal came as the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant announced that it was commencing its final human trials to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

On Monday, AstraZeneca said it would be testing the inoculation on 50,000 people, 30,000 of whom are in the US.

If the trials are successful, it said it may have approval from US regulators by October for emergency use of the vaccine.

The global race to develop a safe and effective vaccine is entering its late stages, and a number of countries worldwide are closing in on being the first to roll out a vaccine en-masse.

Russia approved its controversial Sputnik V vaccine for widespread use after just two months of human testing, and said it would begin large-scale manufacturing despite doubts over its readiness from the World Health Organization.

Another major British drug manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, has struck a deal with French company Sanofi Pasteur to develop a vaccine. They plan to begin human testing this month.

A number of leading vaccine candidates are based in China, and a senior health official said they have been giving one to health workers and border officials for “emergency use” since July.

But despite the global progress in developing vaccines and the widespread testing many are embarking on, doubts still remain about the efficacy of vaccination against coronavirus.

Last week, Dr. Sarah Gilbert, the lead scientist developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, cautioned that it is “difficult” to establish for how long any vaccine will provide protection from viral infection, and what level of immunity it will offer.


Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike

Updated 18 January 2021

Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike

  • The Chinese special administrative region last recorded a triple digit figure on Dec. 19 with 109 cases

HONG KONG: Hong Kong reported 107 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest toll in nearly a month as authorities tested thousands of residents after an outbreak in an old residential building located in a busy commercial and residential area last week.
The Chinese special administrative region last recorded a triple digit figure on Dec. 19 with 109 cases. At its peak in July 2020 the city logged 149 new infections.
Dozens of infections were found last week in a densely packed apartment building in Yau Tsim Mong, a teeming district in the city’s Kowloon area.
Authorities thereafter ordered mandatory testing on hundreds of people living in the area and neighboring streets.
Hong Kong has recorded nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases and 162 deaths since the start of 2020.
Businesses are reeling from ongoing COVID-19 restrictions which have banned gatherings of more than two people and closed sport facilities, beauty salons and all restaurants for dining after 18:00 local time.