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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,4TH AUG 2020-Hopes of finding a Covid-19 vaccine have received a big boost after another clinical trial showed good progress.
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine — developed by British-Swedish multinational AstraZeneca in conjunction with University of Oxford — has shown promising results in its final phase of clinical trial.
“The vaccine development is progressing well. We have had good data so far. We need to show the efficacy in the clinical programme, but so far, so good,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Reuters.
With mass production of the vaccine expected in the coming months, AstraZeneca has been exempted from liability claims by most countries seeking to procure the vaccine.
Mr Ruud Dobber, a member of AstraZeneca’s senior executive team told Reuters: “In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk because it is in their national interest.”
TWO BILLION DOSES
He, however, assured that the company and regulators will make sure that the vaccine is safe.
AstraZeneca has partnered with several countries to make over two billion doses of the vaccine which has been found to produce dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55 years.
The clinical trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is yet to start in Kenya, which is one of the trial sites and one of the most affected countries in Africa. Studies are ongoing in South Africa and the UK while in Brazil, the vaccine has entered the final trial stage.
At the same time, Nation reports that Russia has announced that it is considering vaccinating its doctors and teachers with the first doses of a vaccine it has developed.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has been quoted as saying that the exercise will be carried out by the end of August, with mass vaccination slated for October.
The early-stage trial of the adenovirus-based vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute was completed last month and is undergoing registration.
160 CORONAVIRUS VACCINES
In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a coronavirus vaccine will be available to Americans probably at the beginning of 2021.
There are more than 160 coronavirus vaccines in development, most in the preclinical stage, around the world.
While most focus has been on vaccine development, trials are also ongoing on potential drugs which can be used to treat Covid-19. Kenya is already undertaking clinical trial for remdesivir (from the World Health Organisation pool), and tocilizumab (TCZ) and the plan is to have the vaccines administered to patients if trials will be successful.