Under an agreement between Mexican and Argentine governments and drugmaker, AstraZeneca may start production of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. Phase III trials of the vaccine are expected to conclude by November or December.
India’s apex drug regulatory body has also granted approval to Serum Institute of India (SII) to conduct phase II and III human trial for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in India. As per the study design, each subject will be administered two doses four weeks apart (first dose on day one and second dose on day 29) following which the safety and immunogenicity will be assessed at predefined intervals.
SII said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to manufacture 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low-and-middle income countries. Under this agreement, Pune-based firm can charge a maximum of 3 dollar per dose for the two COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine maker will get the funding from the Gates Foundation through international vaccine alliance GAVI.
“Keeping in mind the pandemic situation, we have two dedicated facilities to produce millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while withholding vast production of other products,” Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of SII said.
Meanwhile Russia maintains that its vaccine Sputnik V has undergone all necessary tests. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that one of his daughters had been inoculated with the vaccine. “I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity, and I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” Putin said.
The WHO, on the other hand is skeptical about the Russian vaccine.