United Kingdom government secures 90 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines

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Earlier today, United Kingdom has signed agreements to buy 90 million doses of vaccines in development by drugmakers including Pfizer Inc., BioNTech SE and Valneva SE, joining countries around the world racing to secure supplies of protection against the pandemic. It will also measure how well the vaccine protects recipients against COVID-19. In early June, the team was forced to begin trials of the vaccine in Brazil and South Africa, where cases were rising quickly. The real test will come from the much larger Phase III efficacy trials that are already underway for the Oxford vaccine and others; these trials will involve thousands of volunteers.

"We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period".

"We saw the strongest immune response in the 10 participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination", Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group, said in the release.

The UK government has also agreed in principle for Valneva to supply 60 million doses of a vaccine it is developing, and a further 40 million if it's found to be "safe, effective and suitable".

The trial showed that volunteers given two doses of the vaccine produced virus-neutralizing antibodies, similar to the USA trial. There are 23 candidates in human clinical trials, including from Moderna and AstraZeneca Plc.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the early results from the Oxford trial.

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Admitting that "nobody can put final dates" as "things might go wrong", Mr Carpenter said "the reality is that by working with a big pharma company, that vaccine could be fairly widely avalailable around September and that is the sort of target they are working on".

"Every volunteer will be doing their bit towards finding a vaccine for Covid-19 that will have the potential to save millions of lives around the world and bring this pandemic to an end".

Moderna's initial results were from the first group of 45 patients who received the vaccine Moderna's shares surged in US trading after the results, despite a high rate of side effects among the patients who got the shot.

"We are seeing good immune response in nearly everybody", Dr Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University said.

If the Oxford vaccine proves to be successful, it could provide enough doses for frontline health and social care workers and people in greater danger of dying if they become infected. The proposed COVID-19 vaccine, called AZD-1222, caused more minor side effects than the meningitis one, but the study's authors stated that acetaminophen, or paracetamol, relieved the drug's effects, according to The Lancet (pdf). This would then thwart the virus from entering human cells, preventing infection.

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