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Covid-19 vaccine tracker, Sept 26: WHO makes financial case for investing in COVAX facility

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine update, September 26: The Covax facility, which is led by the WHO, requires $16 billion in funding, of which only $2 billion had been pledged so far. The facility is backing the development of nine vaccine candidates right now.

By: Explained Desk | Pune | Updated: October 2, 2020 2:19:32 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, corona vaccine, covid 19 vaccine india, coronavirus vaccine india, covax facility, indian expressA worker stands near the word for Safety as she monitors production of SARS CoV-2 Vaccine for COVID-19 at a SinoVac factory in Beijing on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Coronavirus vaccine tracker: The World Health Organisation has released a detailed financial document arguing the case for investing in an initiative that seeks to accelerate the development and equitable distribution of a coronavirus vaccine to everyone.

The Covax facility, which is led by the WHO, requires $16 billion in funding, of which only $2 billion had been pledged so far. The facility is backing the development of nine vaccine candidates right now. The money is required for fast-tracking the development process, ramping up manufacturing capacities, and rapid distribution of these vaccines.

There are similar initiatives for diagnostics and therapeutics as well. Together, these initiatives require a funding of $38 billion, of which only $3 billion have been pledged. The WHO says $15 billion is required immediately, while the rest can come in subsequent months.

Next Wednesday, global leaders would hold a virtual meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly session to discuss the work of these initiatives. Some financial pledges are expected to be realised at this meeting.

The WHO has said $35 billion was a small amount compared to the benefits a quick end of the pandemic would bring. It said global economy was likely to see a contraction of $7 trillion in the current year due to the pandemic. Early deployment of vaccines and therapeutics would minimise some of these losses. Also, it said $35 billion was less than one per cent of what the G-20 countries had already committed to revive their economies.

Also read | China says WHO gave blessing for coronavirus vaccine emergency use programme

Vaccine headed to India enters phase-3 trials

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by US company Novavax has said it was beginning final stage clinical trials in the United Kingdom. In the United States, these trials would begin next month.

This vaccine candidate is one of those that are supposed to be available in India as well. Pune-based Serum Institute of India has an agreement with Novavax to manufacture and distribute this vaccine in India and other low and middle income markets.

The company has said it plans to enrol 10,000 participants for its UK trial.

Novavax vaccine is the tenth candidate to enter phase-3 trials, including four from China and one from Russia. Apart from these, vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are currently undergoing phase-3 trials in different locations.

Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far

  • 187 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
  • 38 of them in clinical trials
  • Nine 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.

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The ones most talked about:

* AstraZeneca/Oxford University
* Moderna
* Pfizer/BioNTech
* Johnson & Johnson
* Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline
* Novavax
* Russian vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Insttiute in Moscow
* Three Chinese vaccines that have been approved for use in China without phase-3 trials being completed. One of them has been given emergency use authorisation in UAE

(As on September 25; source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of September 22, 2020)

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