Oxford's coronavirus vaccine AstraZeneca resumes trial after clearance from United Kingdom health regulator

Henrietta Brewer
September 14, 2020

"Now, there are nearly eight billion people in the world". Not only is it a race against time like one rarely seen in the recorded human history, it is also a test of mankind's scientific achievements till date.

The development comes after a week of Russia releasing the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine into civil circulation, the Russian Health Ministry informed.

The vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published by The Lancet medical journal earlier that were hailed by Moscow as an answer to its critics.

Around 18,000 participants have had AZD1222 as part of the trial, AZ said. "All trial investigators and participants will be updated with relevant information and this will be disclosed on global clinical registries, according to the clinical trial and regulatory standards", the firm said.

The Brazilian state of Bahia has agreed to conduct Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine. While Ad5-nCoV has been developed by CanSino Biologics in collaboration with country's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the CoronaVac, on the other hand, is a product of private biotech major Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

On Friday, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told reporters that the first batch of Russia's Covid-19 vaccine was likely to be delivered to all regions of the country by 14 September, according to TASS.

He then warned that using a vaccine that had yet to undergo the final trials wherein it is tested on an increased number of consenting people could destroy humanity.

AstraZeneca was down more than 8% in over-the-counter trading in the U.S., while rival vaccine developer Moderna Inc gained more than 4%.

It had already been disclosed in July that the British government had reserved 60 million doses of Valneva's inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine under development.

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, as the trial sponsor, said that they can not disclose further medical information but confirmed that independent investigations concluded that the trials were safe to restart.

Twenty-nine vaccines in small-scale safety trials (Phase 1).

An independent committee was drafted in to review safety, in what the company and the World Health Organization described as a routine step.

Another closely watched vaccine candidate is from the joint stable of German drug developer BioNTech, US-based pharma major Pfizer and Chinese Fosun Pharma. The trial was swiftly restarted after investigations determined the illness was not related to the vaccine.

While global trials were paused earlier on September 8, Serum Institute halted India trials days later on September 10, following a show-cause notice issued by the country's drug regulator.

The firm said it expects to begin trials of the two-dose vaccine in December and if it is successful for it to become available in the second half of 2021. There are 142 vaccines in Pre-Clinical trials that are not yet in human trials. Sharvil Patel, the company's managing director in an interview to CNBC-TV18, recently said the company would be building 100 million doses of capacity for the vaccine and will start manufacturing COVID vaccine if phase II data is good.

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