January 26, 2021

AstraZeneca CEO says coronavirus vaccine could be ready in December

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From South China Morning Post

If regulatory authorities are fast when we are ready, we can start vaccinating people possibly at the end of December, Pascal Soriot saysThe drug maker’s vaccine entered phase 3 trials in September

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine entered phase 3 trials in September. Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine entered phase 3 trials in September. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s chief executive said its coronavirus vaccine candidate could be ready for use at the end of December, pending regulatory approval.

“Regulatory authorities are working continuously with our data. If they are fast when we are ready, we can start vaccinating people in January, possibly at the end of December,” chief executive Pascal Soriot was quoted as saying by Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter on Saturday.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker is working with Oxford University in Britain to manufacture a possible coronavirus vaccine, tapped as one of the most promising in the race to find a cure for the pandemic.

“Perhaps we will never earn money from it [the vaccine], no one knows how often you’ll need to vaccinate,” Soriot said. “If the vaccine is very effective and protects people for many years, and the disease disappears, then there is no market.”

Soriot noted that many experts, however, believe there will be need for revaccinations. “If that has to be done annually we can earn money off it from 2022.”

“But we have to ascertain that the vaccine really works,” he said.

Chinese Covid-19 vaccine developer Fosun Pharma optimistic about progress on mRNA jab

Soriot’s comments came as AstraZeneca released results showing that third-quarter revenue rose 3 per cent as the pandemic reduced new cancer diagnoses and elective procedures, cutting demand for its products.

The vaccine entered phase 3 trials in September. They were temporarily stopped because of health concerns with a participant in the UK, but have since been resumed.

The European Union, the US, Britain, Japan and Brazil have signed initial contracts with AstraZeneca for vaccine deliveries if the medication is approved.

The vaccine may be approved for use in China by mid-2021 after gathering safety data from phase 1 and phase 2 trials in the country and efficacy data from phase 3 trials overseas, Leon Wang, head of AstraZeneca’s China operation said.

Wang said its trials in China would use vaccines manufactured by local partner Shenzhen Kangtai.

Additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press

For more on this story go to: SCMP

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