AstraZeneca, Oxford to know by July whether coronavirus vaccine works

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The UK will know by July whether its Covid-19 vaccine is effective, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said on Thursday.

The company announced Thursday that it has partnered with the University of Oxford to help develop and distribute the vaccine researched by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would be responsible for the global manufacture and supply of the Oxford vaccine, which entered phase one clinical trials last week.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told BBC Radio 4 “Today” that the company would know in a few months whether the coronavirus vaccine was effective.

“By June, July, we will already have a very good idea of ​​the direction of travel in terms of potential efficiency,” he said.

Soriot added that for the duration of the pandemic, AstraZeneca would provide the vaccine at cost.

“It is certainly a risk to embark on the development of the vaccine, but now is the time to take that kind of risk,” he told the BBC. “This is a terrible crisis that we are facing and … a vaccine is of course the number one tool we can bring to handle this. “

AstraZeneca also said on Thursday that data from preliminary human trials may be available as early as May, and that progress towards advanced trials is expected to continue in the middle of this year.

John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, said in a press release on Thursday that the partnership with AstraZeneca would be “a major force in the fight against pandemics for many years to come.”

“We believe that together we will be in a strong position to begin vaccination against the coronavirus once we have an effective vaccine approved,” he said. “Unfortunately, the risk of new pandemics will always be with us and the new research center will improve the world’s preparation and our reaction speed the next time we face such a challenge. “

There are currently at least 89 vaccines against the coronavirus in development worldwide, according to the WHO. Experts predict that it will take between 12 and 18 months for a vaccine to be deemed safe for distribution on the market.

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