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US Health Secretary Azar says vaccine is not a race, doubts Russia

Azar says the US is combining the powers of its government, economy and biopharmaceutical industry to "deliver as quickly as we can for the benefit of the United States' citizens, but also for the people of the world, safe and effective vaccines".

By: AP | Taipei | Updated: August 12, 2020 4:36:17 pm
US Health Secretary Azar says vaccine is not a race, doubts RussiaAzar says the US has secured an advanced manufacturing contract for a vaccine being developed by the company Moderna and has supply agreements with five other firms who have vaccines in the works. (AP)

US Health Secretary Alex Azar says the push to develop a Covid-19 vaccine is “not a race to be first”.

Azar’s comments during a visit to Taiwan on Wednesday follow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that his country was the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine, prompting doubts about the science and safety behind that purported achievement.

Azar says the US is combining the powers of its government, economy and biopharmaceutical industry to “deliver as quickly as we can for the benefit of the United States’ citizens, but also for the people of the world, safe and effective vaccines”.

He says the US has secured an advanced manufacturing contract for a vaccine being developed by the company Moderna and has supply agreements with five other firms who have vaccines in the works.

He says four of the six companies under contract have reported testing results showing they produce more antibodies for the virus than people who have survived COVID-19, without severe side effects.

Azar says two companies’ vaccine candidates have entered the third phase of trials while the Russian vaccine is just now embarking on that stage with no information having been disclosed.

He says the US process should allow the production of a gold-standard, safe and effective vaccine available in the tens of millions of doses by the end of the year.

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