AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) are a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business and their innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.link Pascal Soriot, the CEO of AZN, announced that the company wasn’t going to wait for clinical results, which it expected to have in August, and have already started manufacturing their experimental COVID-19 vaccine named Calquence and have doubled its capacity to 2 billion dozes. link.
The company made the following announcements in May link;
- Company working on a number of agreements in parallel to ensure broad and equitable supply of the vaccine throughout the world at no profit during the pandemic
- First agreements to supply at least 400 million doses; Company has total capacity sourced for one billion doses through 2020 and into 2021; continues to increase capacity further
- More than $1 billion US BARDA investment to support development and production of the vaccine
Human trials began in the UK at the end of April and scientists are hoping that if the trials are successful the vaccine would be available by September 2020. They should have trial results in July.
Mr Soriot announced today in an interview with BBC News that “”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,” link
AZN, which is developing the vaccine with scientists at Oxford University, has agreed to supply half of the doses to low and middle-income countries. link
AZN has partnered with the Serum Institute of India who supply vaccines to low-middle income countries. It is expected that 400 million will be available at the end of 2020. AZN have also received funding of $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to produced 300 billion doses.
These partnerships are aimed at guaranteeing early supply of a COVID-19 vaccine to lower income countries. As yet it is unknown if the vaccines will work against COVID-19 but many pharmaceutical companies are in the race to develop one. link