AstraZeneca will manufacture up to 30 million doses of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine by September if trials show it to be effective — and 100 million doses for global deployment by year’s end, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma has announced.
The university and the UK/Sweden-based pharma giant have finalized a large-scale manufacturing deal for the vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, conditional upon trial outcomes, Sharma said.
Oxford’s vaccine is one of the most far along in development and is believed to be among the most promising. It has already started human trials but results are not expected for several months.
Last week, the National Institutes of Health announced that trial results of the Oxford vaccine candidate showed that single doses of it protected rhesus macaques against pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
The vaccinated animals showed no signs of COVID-19 replication in the lungs, significantly lower respiratory levels of disease and no lung damage when compared to animals that went unvaccinated, the NIH said.
However, the U.S. may not have first dibs. “This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the UK will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives,” Sharma said.
The UK government will invest an additional $102 million into Oxford’s and Imperial College’s vaccine programs to speed their research, the business secretary announced. The government has so far given $57 million to the research (DID, April 23). — James Miessler