Categories
Coronavirus Vaccine

Coronavirus Vaccine Race: 7 Key Things You’ll Want to Know – Motley Fool

Here are the answers to your top questions about where things stand with the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Keith Speights

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, high hopes have been placed on the potential for a vaccine. The U.S. government established Operation Warp Speed, a program with the goal of accelerating the development of safe and effective novel coronavirus vaccines. Biopharmaceutical companies both large and small shifted resources to focus on COVID-19 vaccine research.

Today, these efforts are closer to paying off than ever before. But what’s the real state of the coronavirus vaccine race? Here are seven key things you’ll want to know.

Gloved hand picking up a COVID-19 vaccine bottle from a line of identical bottles

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Who the leaders are right now

There are currently 180 COVID-19 vaccine programs in development, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Thirty-five of those vaccine candidates are being evaluated in clinical studies with the rest in preclinical testing. Nine of the 35 clinical-stage COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in late-stage testing.

Chinese drugmakers Cansino Biologics, Sinopharm, and Sinovac Biotech are developing four of the late-stage coronavirus vaccine candidates. Russia is already allowing a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology to be administered to some individuals, although the vaccine is still in late-state testing.

There are four late-stage COVID-19 vaccine candidates targeting the U.S. market:

  • Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) partnered with BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) to develop BNT162b2, a vaccine that uses modified messenger RNA (mRNA) to spur the body to produce antibodies to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
  • Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) is also developing an mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. 
  • AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) teamed up with the University of Oxford to develop AZD1222, which delivers genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using a weakened version of the adenovirus (a common cold virus).
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is starting its late-stage testing of Ad26.COV2.S this month.

2. When a vaccine will likely be available

There’s no way to be completely sure when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available. It’s possible that problems could arise in clinical studies. For example, AstraZeneca recently paused its late-stage clinical trial of AZD1222 due to a serious adverse reaction in a participant.

However, the chances appear to be reasonably good that a coronavirus vaccine will receive FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) before the end of 2020. Pfizer and BioNTech expect to seek authorization for BNT162b2 in October if late-stage testing goes well. AstraZeneca and Moderna might not lag too far behind.

It’s possible that there will be a phased roll-out of early COVID-19 vaccines. One potential scenario would be for healthcare workers and high-risk individuals to receive the vaccine first, followed by the rest of the population.

3. How safe and effective the vaccines will be

We won’t know how safe and effective individual COVID-19 vaccines will be until they’ve completed late-stage testing. However, to secure an EUA the FDA must determine that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. The agency has stated that it will review “the target population, the characteristics of the product, the preclinical and human clinical study data on the product, and the totality of the available scientific evidence relevant to the product” before granting an EUA. 

To win full FDA approval, a COVID-19 vaccine will have to demonstrate at least 50% efficacy in a placebo-controlled clinical study. It will also need to meet the general safety requirements for previously approved vaccines for infectious diseases. 

4. How many doses will be required

Most of the coronavirus vaccines in late-stage testing require two doses, typically administered four weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson’s investigational COVID-19 vaccine, however, requires only one dose.

5. How much a coronavirus vaccine will cost

Coronavirus vaccines will be provided to all Americans at no cost. Healthcare providers, though, could charge insurers for the cost of administering the vaccines.

6. Which vaccines could be in the second wave

Three COVID-19 vaccines are currently in phase 2 clinical testing, according to the WHO. These include vaccines developed by Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), German biotech CureVac (NASDAQ:CVAC), and Chinese drugmaker Anhui Zhifei Longcom. Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) is awaiting FDA approval to begin phase 2 testing of its coronavirus vaccine candidate as well.

7. Which stocks are poised to win the most

Any of the stocks of companies that win FDA EUA or approval for their respective COVID-19 vaccines will likely perform well. However, the smaller biotech stocks would almost certainly enjoy bigger gains than the big pharma stocks. This could mean that BioNTech and Moderna could be the biggest winners among the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race.

Keep in mind, though, that there’s still a risk that the vaccine candidates will stumble in clinical testing. The safer stocks to buy, therefore, will be those of large drugmakers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer since the companies have enough product diversification to withstand a setback in their COVID-19 vaccine programs.


Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

“>

Read More

Categories
Coronavirus Vaccine

Coronavirus Vaccine Company Stocks Rise As Rival Pauses Trial – Investor’s Business Daily

Access to this page has been denied because we believe you are using automation tools to browse the
website.

This may happen as a result of the following:

  • Javascript is disabled or blocked by an extension (ad blockers for example)
  • Your browser does not support cookies

Please make sure that Javascript and cookies are enabled on your browser and that you are not blocking
them from loading.

Reference ID: #5416a030-f2db-11ea-8ee6-9f4bce776014

Read More

Categories
Fauci Vaccine

Fauci: Vaccine in October ‘unlikely, not impossible’ – CNN

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.
Read More

Categories
reckoning Vaccine

New reckoning for WHO vaccine plan as governments go it alone – Reuters

LONDON/BRUSSELS/GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization will next week receive a raft of pledges of support for its plan for COVID-19 vaccines for all.

FILE PHOTO: An employee is seen at the Reference Center for Special Immunobiologicals (CRIE) of the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) where the trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are conducted, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

But the agency has already had to scale back its ambition.

The United States, Japan, Britain and the European Union have struck their own deals to secure millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses for their citizens, ignoring the U.N. body’s warnings that “vaccine nationalism” will squeeze supplies.

If other countries that can afford it pursue a similar approach, the WHO’s strategy for fighting the coronavirus pandemic globally and equitably risks coming undone, experts warn.

“If that were to happen, it’s fairly clear that there would be insufficient volumes of vaccine available for any other countries, particularly in the first six to nine months,” said Alex Harris, head of global policy at the Wellcome Trust health charity.

Countries wishing to be part of the WHO initiative, dubbed COVAX, must submit expressions of interest by Monday.

More than 170 countries, including Canada, Norway, South Korea and Britain, have submitted non-binding expressions of interest to participate in the scheme, which the WHO has touted as the only global initiative to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to rich and poor countries alike.

It has signed up nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates and set out plans to obtain and deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021 across countries that sign up.

But it has struggled to get wealthier countries on board in full beyond pledges of funding and warm words about donating surplus vaccines.

Last week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticised nations that hoard vaccines, warning the strategy will worsen the pandemic. In a last-ditch call for support ahead of Monday’s deadline, he wrote letters to members urging their participation.

The EU Commission is “fully committed” to the success of COVAX while it enters into parallel talks with vaccine manufacturers for supplies for the bloc, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Britain said it was supporting COVAX to ensure equal access to vaccines, including funding, while doing its own bilateral supply deals.

White House did not immediately comment on the situation. The United States did not participate in the launch of the programme in April or a fundraising event in May.

DEALMAKING

The EU’s aggressive dealmaking for vaccine supplies and tepid statements about COVAX have in particular undermined the initiative, which is co-led by the WHO, the GAVI vaccines alliance and the CEPI Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The European Commission is likely to pledge cash for COVAX but it is also securing its own supply deals for member states, deeming COVAX too slow and expensive.

Brussels has told countries they can help fund COVAX, but can’t seek to buy vaccines via both schemes, a Commission spokesman said. Forced to choose, some countries have pulled out of COVAX entirely.

The Czech Republic and Portugal were listed as early backers, but government support appears to have cooled after joining the EU vaccine procurement programme.

Prague has opted for the EU programme instead.

Portugal has asked for an initial delivery of 6.9 million doses of vaccine when the EU programme becomes available, the government has said.

Asked if it would take part in COVAX, a spokesman for the country’s drug regulator INFARMED said it would coordinate its participation in the programme with other European nations.

Other WHO members, which are already major donors to existing global vaccine programmes unrelated to COVID-19, are still on the fence too.

Brazil, with the world’s second worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States, has not yet decided whether to participate, a health ministry spokeswoman said.

In Japan, deputy Health Minister Hisashi Inatsu said he would like to enter discussions about participating, but the government has not said if it will submit an official expression of interest by Monday.

Like many wealthy nations, Japan has ordered its own supply of shots, with almost 250 millions of doses of potential vaccines booked from AstraZeneca (AZN.L), Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (BNTX.O).

RADICAL DEPARTURE

Officials say both COVAX and government deals can run in parallel, but that’s a radical departure from the original plan outlined in the spring.

In acting alone, countries will create “a few winners and many losers”, Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, warned on Monday.

It also means poorer or less powerful countries may go to the back of the queue for vaccines that could help them control the pandemic.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“The risk is that access to COVID-19 vaccines will be defined by purchasing power and the ability to sign advance purchase deals rather than the medical needs or the shifting epidemiological situations,” said Dimitri Eynikel, EU representative on medicines and vaccines for Doctors Without Borders.

The initiative is all the more significant for the WHO as scrutiny grows on its handling of the pandemic. The results of the first round will highlight the challenge of tackling a global crisis with competing individual interests.

One senior European government official explained the dilemma facing wealthy nations: how to support a vaccine for developing countries when there may not be enough for your own population. Diverting resources abroad “is difficult to sell at home”, he said.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Catarina Demony in Lisbon, Rocky Swift in Tokyo, Anthony Boadle in Brasilia, Alistair Smout in London, Victoria Klesty in Oslo, Anne Kauranen in Helsinki, John Miller in Zurich, Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa, Sangmi Cha in Seoul and Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Giles Elgood

Read More

Categories
Coronavirus Vaccine

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? – Yahoo! Voices

By Carl O’Donnell

(Reuters) – Around the world, politicians, drugmakers and regulators offer contradictory outlooks on when a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready. Much depends on what ‘ready’ means and for what group of people. Some key questions around the timeline are:

WHEN WILL WE KNOW A VACCINE WORKS?

More than half a dozen drugmakers around the world are conducting advanced clinical trials, each with tens of thousands of participants, and several expect to know if their COVID-19 vaccines work and are safe by the end of this year.

The most optimistic timeline comes from AstraZeneca Plc , which is running a study in Britain that it says could be completed as early as August.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, told Reuters last week that a trial by Moderna Inc could produce decisive results by November or December. Others will come later, some much later.

Some experts are skeptical that the trials, which must study potential side effects on different types of people, can be completed that quickly. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, says that collecting enough data to prove a vaccine is safe for the world could take until mid-2021.

WHEN WILL THE FIRST SHOTS BE READY?

Several drugmakers are building manufacturing capacity so they can begin production as soon as vaccines are approved by regulators. Some efforts are backed by a U.S. government program called ‘Operation Warp Speed’.

Fauci told Reuters he expects “tens of millions” of doses to be available in early 2021, and that by the end of the year there could be more than a billion. That contrasts with more optimistic guidance from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said a vaccine could be ready before the Nov. 3 presidential election, though he did not define ‘ready’.

Several companies, including Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer Inc , say they each expect to make more than 1 billion doses next year. That could mean several billion available by the end of 2021.

WHEN CAN I GET IT?

First supplies late this year or early next would likely go to those in rich nations who are deemed by governments to work in essential industries or who are at greatest risk from the virus. That is likely to include people with other issues such as diabetes, healthcare workers, and members of the military.

Countries including Canada, Japan, Britain, and the United States have locked in deals putting their citizens first in line for inoculations as they become broadly available during 2021.

Most vaccines are being tested as two shots given a month apart, giving full strength protection only after the second shot is administered.

WHEN WILL THE WORLD BE INOCULATED?

The wait time for COVID-19 vaccines will likely be longer for people in developing countries, which don’t have early supply deals. Some may struggle to pay for vaccines that could cost upwards of $40 per person, said Hotez.

“I am worried that Operation Warp Speed vaccines will not reach developing countries any time soon,” Hotez said.

Gavi, a vaccine alliance for developing countries, aims to secure 2 billion doses of vaccine in 2021, enough to inoculate the most vulnerable 20% of the population in poorer countries. Several manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India, are preparing to manufacture for poor and middle-income countries.

WILL I BE ABLE TO GET A CHINESE VACCINE?

The Chinese government has authorized some experimental vaccines to be used in select patients outside of clinical trials, making it the first country to have vaccines authorized for wider use.

But they are unlikely to be available in the West any time soon. Domestic regulators would need to approve them, and clinical trials by Chinese companies outside of China are still ongoing.

WHAT ABOUT RUSSIA?

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing.

The vaccine still has to complete final trials, raising concerns among some experts at the speed of its approval. Still, Russian business conglomerate Sistema has said it expects to put it into mass production by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Carl O’Donnell, editing by Peter Henderson, Rosalba O’Brienand Nick Zieminski)

Read More

Categories
Experimental Vaccine

Experimental J&J vaccine protects monkeys in a single dose-study – Yahoo Finance

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson on Thursday kicked off U.S. human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.

When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the candidate vaccine were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

“This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The U.S. government is backing J&J’s vaccine effort with $456 million in funding as part of a spending spree aimed at speeding production of a vaccine to end the pandemic, which has infected millions and killed more than 660,000 people.

Stoffels said prior tests of this type of vaccine in other diseases found that a second shot significantly increases protection. But in a pandemic a single-shot vaccine has a significant advantage, sidestepping a lot of the logistical issues involved in getting people to come back for their second dose.

The company plans to take up the question of one or two doses in its phase 1 trial, which kicked off this week in the United States.

Depending on those results, J&J plans to start large-scale, phase 3 testing with a single-shot regimen in the second half of September. Around the same time, the company will start a parallel phase 3 study testing a two-shot regimen of the vaccine, Stoffels said.

J&J’s vaccine uses a common cold virus known as adnovirus type 26 or Ad26 to ferry coronavirus proteins into cells in the body, causing the body to mount an immune defense against the virus.

In the monkey study, scientists from J&J and Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied seven different potential vaccines in 32 animals and compared the results to 20 control animals who got placebo shots.

Six weeks later, all of the animals were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. All 20 animals that received the placebo developed high levels of virus in their lungs and nasal swabs.

In the best-performing candidate, which J&J selected for human testing, none of the animals had virus in their lungs and only one showed low levels of virus in nasal swabs. Lab tests showed they all had developed antibodies capapable of neutralizing the virus after a single shot.

“This study shows that even just a single immunization with the Ad26 vaccine leads to neutralizing antibody responses and robust protection of monkeys against COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a vaccine researcher at Beth Isreal Deaconness who led the research in collaboration with J&J.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; editing by Richard Pullin)

Read More

Categories
Coronavirus Vaccine

Who should get a coronavirus vaccine first? – The Washington Post

Discussions have begun to identify priority groups for initial vaccination against covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Those discussions, involving federal health officials and outside experts, are based on planning developed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The highest priority would go to health-care and essential workers and high-risk populations. This proposed group would also include older adults, residents of long-term-care facilities and people with underlying medical conditions.

A federal advisory panel that provides vaccine recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented an overview of the priority groups last month and met again Wednesday to discuss the issue.

As officials and experts race to stop the pandemic, they are grappling with the fraught nature of establishing vaccination priorities. Clinical trials of at least two experimental vaccines have shown encouraging results and this week moved into final-stage testing for safety and effectiveness in 30,000 participants. U.S. officials have said that if a vaccine is shown to be effective, the first doses could be available by the end of the year.

The decision-making will take place over the next few months and is certain to be controversial, experts said. Officials and experts must address a host of issues, including how much consideration should be given to race and ethnicity because of the disproportionate effect of covid-19 on communities of color. Aside from doctors and nurses, will cafeteria workers and cleaning staff at hospitals be considered essential personnel? What about teachers who keep schools running so parents and others can go back to work?

“This is going to be controversial and not everybody’s going to like the answer,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, referring to the process of establishing priorities. He spoke last week at the kickoff meeting of a committee of experts helping with planning. “There will be many people who feel that they should have been at the top of the list, and not everybody can be.”

That committee of experts is developing a framework to help the federal advisory panel and the CDC set final vaccination priorities. The experts are from an independent advisory group, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and from the National Academy of Medicine. The panel, which is supposed to have an initial draft ready by the end of August and a final version by the end of September, was formed at the request of the directors of NIH and CDC.

The overview of proposed priority groups laid out by the federal advisory panel includes subsets within those that should get the highest consideration. At the top of the list: an estimated 12 million critical health-care and other workers. The first doses would go to a subset described as the “highest-risk medical, national security and other essential workers” needed to protect health-care infrastructure and critical societal functions, according to presentations and discussions at the June meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

But what’s at stake goes beyond allocation of the first shots. The process of identifying priority groups is a chance for health officials and scientists to adjust sometimes-unrealistic expectations about when a vaccine is likely to be available.

It is also an opportunity to reset public trust in government and institutions at a time when “there is a profound sense of people feeling they are not being protected by the people and institutions that are supposed to protect them,” said Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. She co-chaired a working group that recently released a report on covid-19 vaccination.

“We have a socially, politically and racially fragmented society that is under the stress of a disease that causes illness and death. And we’ve seen an uneven — I’m being polite — response to it,” Schoch-Spana said. “If there was ever a time when public perception of fairness and justness was important, that would be now.”

Top federal officials need to make sure the public is hearing a clear and consistent message and show the government is able to keep its promises, Schoch-Spana said. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, there were overly optimistic projections of vaccine supply during the second wave of the disease in October, when demand was high. By the time an adequate supply of vaccine arrived, demand had fallen.

In addition to essential workers and those most affected by health disparities, Collins said a priority list should include the military and locations where the virus is most active. He said the committee should consider giving priority to volunteers in vaccine clinical trials who received a placebo instead of a vaccine dose.

“I think probably we owe them as a consequence of their participation in the trial some special priority in terms of access to the vaccine if it’s proven to be successful,” Collins said.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the discussion about priority groups focused on essential workers, including health-care personnel. At the next meeting in August, the committee is planning to review considerations for other high-risk groups, including people in long-term care facilities.

Workers at greatest risk for exposure to infectious diseases fall into six categories, according to a presentation by Sarah Mbaeyi, a medical officer at CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases:

· Health-care support (home health aides and medical assistants)

· Health-care practitioners (doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists)

· Protective service (police officers and firefighters)

· Personal care and service (child-care workers, barbers and fitness trainers)

· Community support (social workers, probation officers and health educators)

· Education, training and library (K-12 teachers and librarians)

People of color are more likely to work in jobs deemed essential or with increased risk of disease exposure, she said.

She also provided greater detail about risks facing health-care personnel. CDC uses a broad definition that includes people not involved in direct patient care: clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, maintenance, engineering and facilities management, administrative billing and volunteer personnel.

Citing a recent study of risk for severe covid-19 illness among health-care personnel, Mbaeyi said 39 percent have a high-risk medical condition or are older than 65. Those who work in support roles, such as medical assistants or home health aides, or others with less than a bachelor’s degree, have the highest rates of underlying conditions. These groups in general, she said, also have a higher proportion of workers who are African American, Latinx, uninsured or have lower incomes.

One committee member, Paul Hunter, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, offered this summary: “If I was looking at the data correctly, if you’re a middle-aged-to-older African American female medical assistant with diabetes and hypertension, it looks to me like you’re on top of the list to get the vaccine.”

Consideration of race or ethnicity as a criteria for vaccine prioritization has drawn considerable discussion.

At the June meeting, Jose Romero, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute who chairs the CDC immunization committee, spoke of Black, Latinx and Native American communities hit hard by the coronavirus. The covid-19 death toll is twice as high among people of color younger than 65 as for White Americans, according to a recent CDC report.

“If we fail to address this issue of racial and ethnic groups as a high risk in prioritization, whatever comes out of our group will be looked at very suspiciously and with a lot of reservation,” he said.

Another committee member, Sharon Frey, an infectious-disease specialist at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, agreed that it was important to include racial and ethnic groups in a high-priority group. Consideration should be given to the urban poor and working poor who often have other underlying medical conditions, live in crowded homes and can’t take off work “because they have to bring money home to feed their families,” Frey said.

Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Wednesday that racial and ethnic disparities have long existed in routine immunization coverage for adults, with much lower vaccination rates among Blacks and Hispanics.

“The current social situation likely exacerbates the issues that surround this lower vaccine coverage,” she said. “As we start planning for immunization with covid, we need to be mindful that this is a starting place, and we need to take seriously that we need novel and more robust strategies to increase uptake of the covid vaccine once it becomes available.”

Re

Read More

Categories
Vaccine Virus

Virus vaccine put to final test in thousands of volunteers – FOX 11 Los Angeles

The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government — one of several candidates in the fin…
Read More

Categories
Moderna Vaccine

Moderna Vaccine Results Spark Stock Rally – MSN Money

© (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 08: A view of Moderna headquarters on May 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Moderna was given FDA approval to continue to phase 2 of…
Read More

Categories
COVID Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine program to start production by late summer – US official – The Jerusalem Post

The US government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over $1 billion to Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.

By REUTERS
 

JULY 14, 2020 01:56

Bottles labeled

Bottles labeled “Vaccine” stand near medical syringe in front of “Coronavirus COVID-19” display (illustrative)

(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)

Drugmakers partnered with the US government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said on Monday.

“If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer,” the official, who declined to be identified by name, said.

He added that the administration is already working with companies to equip and outfit manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.

The Trump administration has helped finance the development of four COVID-19 vaccines so far though its Operation Warp Speed Program, which aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021.

The US government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over $1 billion to Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.

It also signed a $450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus.

Clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, making it possible to produce hundereds of thousands of doses by fall, the senior administration official said.

“While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster,” the official said.

The “slate is not closed” for additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, the official said.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3 million people in the United States and killed more than 130,000.

Read More