While optimistic about a Coronavirus vaccine being ready by early next year, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, now a philanthropist backing several global public health initiatives, has said that the first vaccine might not be the best one.
In an interview with Bloomberg agency, Gates said more effective vaccines might take a little longer to develop and would become available only much later.
“The initial vaccine, in terms of its effectiveness against sickness and transmission, won’t be ideal and may not have a long duration,” Gates was quoted as saying. He said he thought the first vaccines might only be a ‘stop-gap’ offer available primarily to the rich countries.
Through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has provided financial support to several leading vaccine candidates including the one being developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.
Gates said he was hopeful that along with vaccines, effective treatments for novel Coronavirus would also be developed which would help in saving large number of lives.
Johnson & Johnson strikes US$ 1 bln deal with US for its vaccine
Johnson & Johnson is the latest pharmaceutical company developing a Coronavirus vaccine to be offered a billion-dollar deal by the United States government for securing the supply of vaccines when they are ready.
As part of the deal, Johnson & Johnson, whose candidate vaccine is in phase-I and phase-II human trials, would provide the United States at least 100 million doses of the vaccine when it is ready.
The United States has entered into similar deals with many other developers. Last week, it had announced a US$ 2.1 billion deal with French drugmaker Sanofi and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline for securing 100 million doses of the vaccine that the two pharma giants are jointly developing.
Earlier, it has paid US$ 1.2 billion for procuring 300 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca, and another US$ 1.6 billion for 100 million doses of that being developed by Novavax. The money would be used by the companies to fund their human trials and other expenses.
Novavax reports positive data from phase-I trials
Novavax, a biotechnology company based in Maryland, United States, has reported that its vaccine candidate had “elicited robust antibody responses” in volunteers during phase-I human trials.
The vaccine was tried on 50 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 years of age at two sites in Australia, the company said.
It reported findings of the tests on monkeys as well, claiming that its vaccine had strongly protected the monkeys from Coronavirus infections.
Novavax is one of the several pharmaceutical companies with whom the US government has entered into billion-dollar advance agreements for securing their vaccines.
The company’s candidate vaccine uses a protein from the novel Coronavirus to induce immune response in human beings.
HUNT FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE: THE STORY SO FAR
- More than 160 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
- 23 of them in clinical trials
- Six in final stages, phase-III of human trials
- At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase-I human trials.
(Source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of July 31, 2020)
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