AZ, Oxford Uni announce ‘landmark’ COVID-19 vaccine deal

Selina McKee

As of this morning – Thursday April 30 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 165,221 with 26,097 deaths.

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have signed a deal for the global development and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.

The collaboration aims to bring to patients the potential vaccine – ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group, at the University of Oxford.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca is responsible for development and worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine.

“As COVID-19 continues its grip on the world, the need for a vaccine to defeat the virus is urgent. This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s world-class expertise in vaccinology and AstraZeneca’s global development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation,” said Pascal Soriot, AZ’ chief executive.

UK business secretary Alok Sharma added: “This collaboration between Oxford University and AstraZeneca is a vital step that could help rapidly advance the manufacture of a coronavirus vaccine. It will also ensure that, should the vaccine being developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute work, it will be available as early as possible, helping to protect thousands of lives from this disease.”

“Our partnership with AstraZeneca will be a major force in the struggle against pandemics for many years to come,” noted Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University. “We believe that together we will be in a strong position to start immunising against coronavirus once we have an effective approved vaccine. Sadly, the risk of new pandemics will always be with us and the new research centre will enhance the world’s preparedness and our speed of reaction the next time we face such a challenge.”

The experimental vaccine entered Phase I clinical trials last week across five trial sites in Southern England. Data from the Phase I trial could be available next month, while progress into late-stage trials should take place by the middle of this year.


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