When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready in the UK? Latest updates from around the world


The findings, led by the National Institutes of Health, have not been peer reviewed or published, but Professor Robin Shattock, professor of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, called the first results of “encouraging”.He added: “This is a promising start, but efficacy data will be critical, followed by a capacity to scale to provide global access if this vaccine is successful. ”

US President Donald Trump has said the United States will begin mass production of all vaccines developed before they are fully approved so that they can be quickly distributed once approved.

But the president has accused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of preventing drug companies from finding people to test coronavirus vaccines on. Mr Trump suggested that elements of the “deep state” at the FDA wanted to delay a vaccine until the election was over.

It has also been reported that GSK and Sanofi have teamed up to develop a treatment for the coronavirus and plan to have a vaccine ready for testing by the end of 2020.

Germany has announced that it will invest € 300m (£ 269m) in a private biotech firm on the brink of clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine.

His purchase of a 23% stake in CureVac comes after reported attempts by the Trump administration to woo the company and secure the supply of any future vaccine sparked a political backlash in Berlin. CureVac in March dismissed allegations it had received takeover offers for the company or its technology.

First positive results for a Chinese pharmaceutical company

On June 17, a Chinese pharmaceutical company announced the first positive results of a vaccine, claiming that it elicited an immune response in 100% of those who received it.

The vaccine is developed by the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and is one of the pioneers among more than 200 other candidates in the race to develop an effective inoculation against the disease.

Chinese biotech Sinovac also announced positive results for its coronavirus vaccine, saying it hopes to move to large-scale phase three trials in Brazil soon.

Africa’s first participation in a Covid-19 vaccine trial began on June 24 as volunteers received injections developed at Oxford University, while officials said the continent’s 1.3 billion of people could not be left behind.

The large-scale trial is underway in South Africa, Great Britain and Brazil.

Other treatments being tested

Along with developing vaccines, doctors are testing existing drugs against viruses such as Ebola, malaria and HIV. Early results look promising, but until full clinical trials are completed, doctors cannot be sure the drugs will work.

The trial of hydroxychloroquine, originally a malaria drug, led by the University of Oxford, was hailed by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of Health, in April as a “major step” in the process. battle against Covid-19.

However, the results of an international study by the WHO indicate that it increases the chances of death of hospitalized patients by 9 to 21%.

The organization suspended his trial on May 25, citing security concerns. But on May 26, leaders of the Oxford-led Recovery trial, which operates in NHS hospitals, said they would continue because their data did not show an increased risk.

AstraZeneca has started a phase 1 clinical trial of its drug AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. The trial, funded by the US government, will include up to 48 healthy participants in the UK between the ages of 18 and 55.

A combination of so-called monoclonal antibodies works by mimicking the body’s natural antibodies.

Breakthrough of dexamethasone

The world’s first coronavirus treatment that dramatically reduces the risk of death is being given to NHS patients following groundbreaking trials by British scientists.

In a breakthrough described by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, as a “remarkable achievement”, the common steroid dexamethasone has been shown to dramatically improve the chances of survival of the sickest patients.

On June 16, Mr Johnson hailed the result as the ‘biggest breakthrough to date’ in the treatment of coronavirus, both in Britain and around the world.

The government has been storing dexamethasone since March in case the trials are successful. There are already supplies for 200,000 patients, and enough to deal with any second wave of the virus.

The drug – commonly used to treat arthritis, severe allergies and asthma – costs just £ 5 for full treatment and is expected to have a major impact on the pandemic.

Scientists at the University of Oxford, who have conducted trials on a number of drugs since March, have announced that a 10-day treatment with dexamethasone reduces the risk of death for people on ventilators by a third.

The researchers said the drug should become the standard of care for sicker patients.

UK Vaccine Working Group

On April 17, the government launched a task force – set up under the aegis of the Department of Business, Education and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – designed to “rapidly develop a vaccine against the coronavirus”, as well as to scale up manufacturing so that it can be quickly produced and delivered. in mass quantities.

It is led by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Jonathan van Tam, Deputy Medical Director, and members will include pharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, as well as the Wellcome Trust.

The government initially allocated £ 14million for 21 coronavirus research projects – such as the work of scientists at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. On April 21, the announcement of an additional £ 44.5million for the Oxford and Imperial tests further increased that funding.

Weeks later, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced additional new funding of £ 84million “to help speed up their work”.

He said: “This new money will help mass produce the Oxford vaccine so that if the current trials are successful we have dosages to immediately start vaccinating the British population. ”

To help the UK mass-produce a vaccine, Mr Sharma announced that the UK’s first vaccine manufacturing innovation center is set to open in summer 2021, a year ahead of schedule.

He said: “To further support our domestic manufacturing capabilities last month, I announced that the government would accelerate the construction of the UK’s first vaccine manufacturing innovation center, based in Harwell, Oxfordshire.

“And today I can announce that we will invest up to an additional £ 93million in the center to ensure it opens in summer 2021, 12 months ahead of schedule.” The center, which is already under construction, will have the capacity to produce enough doses of vaccine to serve the entire UK population in as little as six months. “

How long does it take to make a vaccine and why?


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