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.


Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

Updated 16 January 2021

Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

  • Two policemen were killed and one wounded
  • The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks

KABUL: A roadside bomb targeting a police vehicle in the Afghan capital killed two policemen Saturday, officials said, as violence continues unabated in Afghanistan despite peace talks between the Taliban and government.
The vehicle carrying the policemen was struck by the bomb in the center of the capital on the road to the prestigious Kabul University, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said.
Two policemen were killed and one wounded, Faramarz said.
Violence has surged across the country in recent months, especially in Kabul which is also rocked by a new trend of targeted killings that has sown fear in the city.
The bloodshed comes even as the Taliban and government negotiators engage in peace talks to end the nearly two decade war in the country.
The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks.