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Coronavirus vaccine: US may buy up UK's AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, leaving none for Britain: Report

Oct 19, 2020 12:51 PM IST

Developer AstraZeneca said that COVID-19 vaccine will be supplied on a first-come, first-served basis.

United States President Donald Trump has ordered defence and health chiefs to ensure that America is the first one to procure UK's COVID-19 vaccine, being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

This could mean that the US may buy all available doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, leaving none for Britain.

Trump, who faces an election in November, has repeatedly said that enough doses of coronavirus vaccine will be made available for every American by April. He has also said that distribution of vaccine will begin within 24 hours of it being approved by federal health regulators.

Developer AstraZeneca, too, has said that the vaccine will be supplied on a first-come, first-served basis.

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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COVID-19 vaccine doses will be delivered to the first country to give it the safety green light, AstraZeneca said, as per a Mirror report.

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"If the US regulator clears it first, they will get it first," an AstraZeneca spokesman told the UK tabloid.

United States has already secured almost a third of AstraZeneca's one billion possible COVID-19 vaccine doses by pledging up to $1.2 billion in May.

Trump has promised vaccine doses for every American under Operation Warp Speed plan, a multi-agency collaboration led by the US Health and Human Services, which aims at accelerating the development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures for COVID-19 and delivering 300 million doses of an effective vaccine by January 2021.

Read: Donald Trump says he expects to have coronavirus vaccine for every American by April

Meanwhile, the UK has contributed £84 million towards the vaccine, as per the report. Boris Johnson has also secured 100 million doses, but Britain could be left behind if US regulators give the go-ahead first.

AstraZeneca is one of the leaders in the race to develop COVID-19 vaccine. Other companies that have COVID-19 vaccines in phase 3 trials include Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc.

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million on October 19, as per a Reuters tally. United States, India, and Brazil remain the worst affected countries in the world.

While around 247 cases are seen per 10,000 people in the United States, for India and Brazil, this number stands at 55 and 248, respectively.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak

Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 19, 2020 12:50 pm
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