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Coronavirus vaccine update, August 19: Australia to give free doses; India asks developers for price

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine tracker August 19 update: Australia to give free shots; India asks developers for price; Chinese vaccine to be available by December.

By: Explained Desk | Pune |
Updated: August 23, 2020 10:41:37 am
India coronavirus vaccine, coronavirus vaccine, coronavirus vaccine update, covid-19 vaccine, coronavirus cure, coronavirus vaccine news, corona vaccine, India Covid-19 vaccine, India coronavirus vaccine, indian expressA scientist holds a case of unlabeled vials while working on a vaccine for Covid-19. (Bloomberg Photo: Andrey Rudakov, File)

Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker, August 19: Australia has said once a vaccine for the novel Coronavirus becomes available, it will offer it free to all its citizens. Australia has entered into an agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for securing access to the vaccine it is developing in collaboration with Oxford University.

“If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quoted as saying in a BBC report.

So far, a little more than 23,000 people have been infected with novel Coronavirus in Australia, and there have been more than 430 deaths due to the disease.

Also read | Australia to make vaccines free for its citizens

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India asks vaccine developers for price information

India has asked developers of three vaccines that are currently undergoing human trials in the country to disclose estimates of the price at which their respective vaccines can be made available.

Two Indian companies, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Ahmedebad-based Zydus Cadila, are carrying out phase-1 and phase-2 human trials of their vaccine candidates. A third candidate, being developed by pharma major AstraZeneca and Oxford University, has also been approved for human trials in India, which are expected to begin soon.

NITI Aayog member V K Paul, who also heads the national expert group on vaccine administration, on Tuesday said the trials of the three vaccine candidates were “on track”, and that it was being reviewed regularly.

“Pricing is perhaps complex because some of them (candidate vaccines) are at an early stage (of development). This information will be refined as we move along. There is no firm information. But we have asked about the price range (of the potential vaccines) from individual manufacturers,” Paul said.

Pune-bases Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, has entered into an agreement with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which will enable it to make vaccines available for about Rs 240 per dose. According to this agreement, Serum would produce 100 million doses of one of the vaccines that would eventually become successful for supply to middle and low income countries. It is expected that at least 50 per cent of this tranche would be supplied within India.

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A Chinese vaccine to cost about Rs 10,000, to be available by December

State-owned Chinese company Sinopharm has claimed that a candidate vaccine it is developing would be available in the market by December this year, and would be priced lower than 1,000 yuan (about Rs 10,000) for two doses, according to a report in The Global Times.

The vaccine being developed by Sinopharm is in phase-3 human trials which is being carried out in United Arab Emirates. It is one of the six Chinese vaccines that are currently undergoing human trials.

In another report, the newspaper said that a vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologicals had been granted patent by China’s National Intellectual Property Administration. The CanSino vaccine has already been approved for use on Chinese soldiers, without undergoing phase-3 human trials. The company is planning to launch phase-3 trials in Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

The newspaper report said that the company, in a statement, had claimed that the grant of the patent further confirmed the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, and convincingly demonstrated the ownership of intellectual property rights.

Hunt for a Coronavirus vaccine: The story so far

  • More than 160 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
  • 29 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 -II trials after completing phase-I.

(As on August 13; source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of August 13, 2020)

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