The race for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues even as global cases have crossed 40 million. Several vaccine frontrunners have already reached the second phase of their trials and governments are also striking deals to ensure that shots reach the people who need it the most and at the earliest.
As health ministries across the world set timelines on vaccine rollout and delivery, most governments have laid emphasis on inoculating frontline workers, high-risk age groups and vulnerable populations first.
Following are the top developments related to coronavirus vaccine:
■ Former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb told news channel CBS’ that the Trump administration’s strategy is to ‘endure’ the spread of Covid-19 until a vaccine is rolled out. Gottlieb expressed concerns regarding the higher rate of transfer of Covid-19 in 45 states of the US and said it could be until February or March next year before the first group of people receive a vaccine and remain protected against the coronavirus disease.
■ New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that high-risk populations and healthcare workers will be prioritized for inoculation when the vaccine rolls out. According to Bloomberg, Cuomo said he will write to the White House seeking specific advice regarding how to distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it is available. “States cannot do this on their own. Period. This is a massive undertaking,” Cuomo said.
■ Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday that late-stage clinical trials of intranasal Covid-19 vaccine will begin in the coming months. He said that 30,000 to 40,000 participants will be involved in the late-stage trials which will be conducted by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech International Limited.
■ After Jiaxing, Yiwu, Ningbo and Shaoxing will offer anti-coronavirus disease vaccines for urgent use. These three cities are aiming to extend the vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech but according to a Global Times report accessed by news agency Bloomberg, the vaccine has not undergone full testing or received official approval for marketing purposes.
■ Johnson and Johnson’s and AstraZeneca Plc’s pause in their vaccine trials has led to researchers questioning the role of adenoviral vectors. Trials of their vaccines have been stalled as they have one common key feature – both of them are based on adenoviruses.
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