British pharma giant AstraZeneca, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, said it was “on track” to roll out up to two billion doses in September.
Reportedly, the vaccine is under the human trials phase, but if successful, the company hopes to have millions of doses ready in the next few months.
In the initial phase of testing, the vaccine was tested on healthy volunteers of age 18 to 55. In the coming phases, researchers are to test the vaccine candidate in 10,260 more people, and they will also expand the age to include children and older people.
“We are starting to manufacture this vaccine right now. And we have to have it ready to be used by the time we have the results. Of course, with this decision comes a risk but it is a financial risk and that financial risk is that if the vaccine doesn't work. We will find this out at the end of August, then all the materials, all the vaccines we have manufactured will be wasted," The Indian Express quoted Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, as saying to BBC Radio.
US also said that it had already produced two million vaccine doses that are “ready to go” if they “check out for safety”.
President Donald Trump has said that the country already has 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine ready to be rolled out if they check out for safety. "We had a meeting on vaccines yesterday. We are doing incredibly well. We can have some very positive surprises. Tremendous progress is being made on vaccines. In fact, we are ready to go in terms of transportation and logistics. We have over two million ready to go if it checks out for safety," he said during a news conference from the White House.
India, too has pledged $15 million to vaccine alliance GAVI at the Global Vaccine Summit hosted by the UK. Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Modi said, “Our support to Gavi is not only financial. India’s huge demand brings down the global price of vaccines.”
AstraZeneca announced this week it had struck agreements with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, and the Serum Institute of India to double production capacity of the vaccine to two billion doses. The partnership with the Indian institute — one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers — will help supply it to a large number of low- and middle-income countries, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has approached its rival Gilead Sciences about a potential merger on Sunday.