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AstraZeneca will have 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by year-end

Pam Cheng said there would be enough vaccine for 20 million doses in Britain by the end of the year, with enough "active" drug substance for 70 million doses for the UK by the end of Q1 2021.

November 23, 2020 / 06:53 PM IST

AstraZeneca will have enough of its candidate vaccine for 200 million doses by the end of 2020, with drug substance for 700 million doses by the end of the first quarter of 2021 globally, operations executive Pam Cheng said on Monday.

Cheng told a briefing that the company would keep the "active" drug substance in stock while it awaited regulatory approval around the world.

She said there would be enough vaccine for 20 million doses in Britain by the end of the year, with enough "active" drug substance for 70 million doses for the UK by the end of Q1 2021.

Also Read: Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford, AstraZeneca say their candidate prevents average 70% people from getting COVID

She said she expected that to translate into 4 million finished vaccine doses by the end of 2020, and 40 million finished doses by the end of Q1 next year.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Those calculations were based on using two full doses, she said, although trial data suggests higher efficacy when the initial shot is a half dose.

Also Read: Oxford COVID-19 vaccine update | India may approve emergency use once AstraZeneca gets UK nod: VK Paul

 "If we go with a half dose you can imagine for the initial dose, we will be able to double the number of vaccinations here," she said.

She said the figures referred to the vaccine doses being manufactured by AstraZeneca, and not those being made by manufacturing partners.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
first published: Nov 23, 2020 04:41 pm
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