UK Company ‘On Track’ to Roll out 2 Bn COVID Vaccine Doses by Sept

The company has partnered with Oxford University, which pioneered the vaccine.

2 min read
The company has partnered with Oxford University, which pioneered the vaccine.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said it was ‘on track’ to start rolling out up to two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine in September, depending on the success of the ongoing trials, AFP reported.

Chief executive of the British company, Pascal Soriot told BBC radio, “So far we're still on track... we are starting to manufacture this vaccine right now, and we have to have it ready to be used by the time we have the results.”

“Our present assumption is that we will have the data by the end of the summer, by August, so in September we should know whether we have an effective vaccine or not.”
Pascal Soriot

According to the AFP report, the company has partnered with Oxford University, which pioneered the vaccine, and has started ‘manufacturing doses before seeking final regulatory approval once testing concludes in the coming months’.

AstraZeneca has entered into agreements with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and the Serum Institute of India to double the production capacity to two billion doses.

Soriot also said that the company is working on the vaccine on a non-profit basis, and may lose money if the trials are unsuccessful. “We’re manufacturing indeed at risk, and that’s the only way to have the vaccine ready to go if it works.” The risk was being shared with other organisations like CEPI.

In April, Oxford University had already started their clinical trials on human subjects with 1,000 people, and now over 10,000 volunteers will be studied in the advanced phase.

While explaining when the results of the trial will be available, the university had said that to assess whether the vaccine works to protect from COVID-19, the statisticians in the team will compare the number of infections in the control group with the number of infections in the vaccinated group.

For this purpose, it is necessary for a small number of study participants to develop COVID-19, the researchers had said in May. “How quickly we reach the numbers required will depend on the levels of virus transmission in the community. If transmission remains high, we may get enough data in a couple of months to see if the vaccine works, but if transmission levels drop, this could take up to 6 months.”

However, Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, had assured that "the clinical studies are progressing very well".

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