The race for creating a safe vaccine to fight the COVID-19 is very well on. The US pledged $1 billion to AstraZeneca Plc to help to develop the University of Oxford’s Covid vaccine. The money was channeled by the U.S. Health Department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). As reported by Bloomberg, the company already has an agreement to supply 400 million doses as a first step to then deliver 1 billion doses.
The trials. September is the target.
Human trials started in April on over 1,000 volunteers in the South of England. In phase 3 (beginning of June), AstraZeneca will test the vaccine on 30,000 people in the US and 10,000 in the UK; there will also be a pediatric trial. If all goes well and there is formal approval by the competent authorities 30 million doses are promised to the UK by September and 300 million doses to the US by October.
CAUTION. The vaccine may not work
During an interview with Bloomberg, AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot commented: “We, of course, cannot be sure that the vaccine will work. That’s why we run the clinical trial, but we have good confidence that it should actually be a successful vaccine and, if so, we will be ready to supply it.”
The Operation Warp Speed
All this funding is coming from the so-called “Operation Warp Speed” launched by the US Administration. The program will form a partnership between private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to cut the development time for a vaccine by 8 months.