Covid-19 vaccine updates: Pfizer announcement offers glimmer of hope

The winter season could aggravate the risks involved in the wake of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the experts have said. The infection has been spreading rapidly across the world and has so far affected over 51 million people, according to Worldometer.

As several countries report further outbreaks of Covid-19, the race to find a vaccine for the disease which primarily impacts the lungs has picked up pace.

Very recently, American drug maker Pfizer released data from late-stage human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine developed with German based BioNTech which showed that it was over 90 per cent effective. A company spokesperson told Mint that Pfizer is in talks with the Indian government to sell its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Here are the recent updates on the vaccine development from across the world:

1. Work to distribute the vaccine of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE is gearing up after both firms announced successful interim data earlier on Monday, but it won’t be coming to local pharmacies for the general public any time now. This is because the data on safety is not out yet and would be released later this month.

2. US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he will take Pfizer Inc’s new vaccine if the Food and Drug Administration approves it, adding that he has confidence in the company and the government agency.

3. UK health minister Matt Hancock on Tuesday said that vaccinations for Covid-19 will be optional. “We’re not proposing to make this compulsory, not least because I think the vast majority people are going to want to have it,” Hancock told the BBC.

4. Medicago, a Canada-base drug developer said a combination of its experimental vaccine and GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine booster produced virus-neutralising antibodies in all healthy volunteers in an early-stage study. The company did not disclose the entire safety data, but said side effects were mainly mild to moderate.

5. In India, the Union health ministry Tuesday said that the country’s national expert group on vaccine administration is in talks with all vaccine manufacturers – be it domestic or foreign. This comes right after Pfizer Inc released data from the late-stage human trials of its vaccine.

6. Singapore may get the first shipment of a coronavirus vaccine, which is co-developed by Singapore researchers along with US pharmaceutical company Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc in early 2021, according to a media report. The Straits Times reported that the country’s Economic Development Board is pumping around $45 million for manufacturing the vaccine.

(With agency inputs)

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