The United States has recently secured 300 million doses, or one third of the world’s supply, of AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine by pledging to give up to $1.2 billion for funding. Although there is no vaccine currently that has been proven to eradicate the coronavirus, world leaders all over are trying to restart their stalled economies by funding these experimental ones for distribution.
President Donald Trump along with the U.S. Department of Health agreed to provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate AstraZeneca’s development on the vaccine. They also wanted to ensure that they would have enough vaccines for nearly every American; America has about 350 million residents, hence the 300 million doses.
“This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021,” U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said.
The vaccine was initially referred to as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, but has since been shortened to AZD1222, based on the vaccine’s chemical composition. It was initially developed at the University of Oxford, where an elite team of researchers and scientists have been working tirelessly on Covid-19 drug treatments and vaccines since this entire pandemic began.
Oxford has been working on countless treatments but has been mainly focused on finding a 100% effective vaccine; they even were able to start human trials for a vaccine last month. Once the most recent version of AZD1222 was produced, British drug-maker AstraZeneca began the process of licensing the vaccine for future development. Obviously, the use of the vaccine as treatment to create immunity against the coronavirus is top priority, but until there’s a substantial amount of evidence that proves its effectiveness, it can be up to two years until we see a real vaccine hit the market.
The deal between the US and AstraZeneca also states that when the vaccine is in its final stages of development scientists can perform a clinical trial on up to 30,000 Americans to test its effectiveness; with that amount of individuals participating it’s likely the vaccine will be relatively successful by that point.
In general AstraZeneca is going to try and ship out at least 400 million doses of the vaccine worldwide with its first round of distribution. Once they have a more secure means of manufacturing, that number will increase to one billion doses and so on until the whole world has access. The earliest that the company believes they could start dealing out the vaccines would be this September, in fact, they’re hoping to get 30 million people vaccinated by then.
“A Phase I/II clinical trial of AZD1222 began last month to assess safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years across several trial centres in southern England. Data from the trial is expected shortly. There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19. Governments, drugmakers and researchers are working on around 100 programmes, and experts are predicting a safe and effective means of preventing the disease could take 12 to 18 months to develop,” according to reports.
So far only a few potential vaccines have gotten to the point of human trials, which is the most critical part of vaccine development. Other major drugmakers, like Johnson & Johnson, are also developing potential vaccines and creating deals with our world leaders to ensure that Americans have access to these treatments when they’re finally market ready. For now, only time will tell when that will be.