The race for an effective vaccine
- A new coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZenaca has been approved for emergency use in Britain, India, and Argentina between December 30 and January 3. The approval of this new vaccine is seen by several experts as a turning point in the pandemic because of its low price, ease of transportation and availability. The UK began administering this vaccine yesterday and aims to vaccinate 2 million people a week by the end of the month. Over one million were vaccinated in the UK with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of 2020.
- The European Union has already started vaccinating its population after each EU member states received almost 10,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 26. Deliveries will continue in January and on a steady weekly basis during the following months. The distribution of the full 200 million doses is scheduled to be completed by September 2021
- On December 31, the World Health Organization gave Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine an emergency use listing, which will speed up its authorization in many other countries. Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine had already been approved for full use in several countries including Canada and for emergency use in The US, Europe and across South America and Asia.
- The United Nations put in place a global mechanism named COVAX facilities which aims to deliver two billion doses by the end of 2021, and to make sure that these doses are affordable and available to all.
Quick fact: A vaccine being approved means it has been through several phases of testing on tens thousands of people and showed satisfactory results approved by regulators. It is the last step before manufacturing and distribution.
Coping with the pandemic
- British scientists are trialing a new drug that could prevent someone who has been exposed to coronavirus from going on to develop the disease Covid-19. It could be available as soon as March or April if it is approved by the medicines regulator and would protects against Covid-19 for between six to twelve months.
- Taiwanese scientists have developed a decoy antibody that can prevent infection by the coronavirus by blocking it from entering human cells. In the abstract of their peer-reviewed article published on November 30, the scientists explain these promising characteristics potentiate the therapeutic prospects of ACE2‐Fc as an effective treatment for COVID‐19.