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Coronavirus vaccine update August 18 | Australia to manufacture 'promising' vaccine; SII to begin phase-2 trials

Here are all the latest updates on a potential COVID-19 vaccine and its candidates.

August 19, 2020 / 09:24 AM IST

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From Australia's Prime Minister saying that the country will manufacture 'promising' coronavirus vaccine to SinoPharm saying the Chinese vaccine will be ready by the end of December, here are all the latest updates on a potential COVID-19 vaccine and its candidates.

Australia to manufacture 'promising' coronavirus vaccine and give free to citizens: PM Scott Morrison

Australia has secured access to a "promising" potential coronavirus vaccine, the prime minister announced Tuesday, saying the country would manufacture it and offer free doses to the entire population.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia had reached a deal with Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to receive the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University.

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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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Coronavirus vaccine will be ready by December-end, says Chinese company SinoPharm

The head of a major state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company said its coronavirus vaccine will be commercially available by the end of the year.

Liu Jingzhen, the chairman of SinoPharm, told a Chinese Communist Party newspaper that the vaccine would cost less than 1,000 yuan ($140) and be given in two shots, 28 days apart.

Serum Institute of India to begin Phase 2 trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week

The Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, will start Phase 2 human clinical trials of the candidate this week.

The SII has been permitted for conducting Phases 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the candidate in India. To run the trials, the SII has selected 10 centres across the country.

Indian Govt panel meets representatives of leading domestic manufacturers

The national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 met representatives of leading domestic manufactures, including Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, on August 17 to take inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines as well as their expectations from the government, the Union Health Ministry said.

The meeting was mutually beneficial and productive, the ministry said.

"It provided the national expert group with inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines being developed by indigenous manufacturers as well as their expectations from the Union government," the statement said.

Brazil approves human trials for potential Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa on Tuesday said it had approved human clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

Brazil is the second-worst hit country for coronavirus cases and deaths after the United States, leading many vaccine developers to seek out clinical trials there.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate is the fourth to be approved for human trials in Brazil, Anvisa said in its statement.

Pakistan gives go-ahead to Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial

Pakistan's drug regulator greenlit the country's first Phase 3 clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, which is being developed by China's CanSino Biologics (CanSino) and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology.

The trial is slated to begin next month, according to an official who will coordinate the exercise.
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first published: Aug 18, 2020 08:53 pm
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