Coronavirus Live News: Israel To Offer Booster Shot From Pfizer As Efficacy Wanes, Reports Say; Daily cases in Japan exceed 10,000

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British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said its Covid vaccine generated $ 1.2 billion in sales in the first half of the year as global vaccination programs accelerated.
AFP reports that sales more than tripled to $ 894 million in the three months to June, from $ 275 million in the three months to March, she said in a statement. AstraZeneca shipped 319 million doses in the first half of the year, including $ 572 million in sales in Europe and $ 455 million in other markets.

It comes after US drug maker Pfizer lifted its annual revenue and profit forecast on growing demand for rival Covid-19 vaccine made with Germany’s BioNTech.

“We have made spectacular progress with our Covid-19 Vaxzevria vaccine,” said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. “To date, AstraZeneca and our partners have released 1 billion doses in more than 170 countries. “

Developing the vaccine with scientists at the University of Oxford, and their decision to make it available at cost without making a profit, made the Anglo-Swedish company a household name.

As a result of the move, AstraZeneca’s performance is overshadowed by that of Pfizer, which is forecasting $ 33.5 billion in Covid jab sales this year. AstraZeneca added that the group’s net profit jumped 40% to $ 2.1 billion in the first half. Total revenue increased by nearly a quarter to $ 15.5 billion.

But at least 97% of funding for the development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been identified as coming from taxpayers or charitable trusts, according to research, the Guardian previously reported.

The overwhelming majority of the money, especially in the early stages of research, came from UK government departments, UK and US scientific institutes, the European Commission and charities including the Wellcome Trust.

Oxford University initially said any vaccine it develops will be open to manufacturers qualified to produce royalty-free, and at cost or with a small profit. However, in August 2020, apparently at the request of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, the university decided to change course. It has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca has entered into several licensing agreements with major manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India, in an attempt to ensure that the vaccine is produced on a large scale.

But the company reserves the right to increase the price of the vaccine when it decides the Covid-19 pandemic is over – which will be a potential windfall if regular boosters are needed in the years to come to maintain immunity. against the virus and its variants.

The AZ jab has faced safety doubts and suspensions in some European countries due to reports of rare blood clots. The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency, however, have said the benefits outweigh the risks.

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