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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Australia secures more of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for onshore manufacturing

Health Industry Hub | December 14, 2020 |

Pharma News: The Australian Government secured an additional 20 million doses of the promising AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, strengthening Australia’s position for whole-of-population vaccination.

This will mean a total delivery of 53.8 million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses in 2021, covering the whole of population requirements. The extra 20 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine will be produced within Australia by CSL.

In addition, a further 11 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be purchased, bringing the total for this vaccine to 51 million. 

A purchasing agreement is also in place for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with 10 million doses scheduled for early 2021.

The University of Queensland’s research into a possible COVID-19 vaccine which has undergone phase one clinical trials will not be proceeding to phase three.

Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, a specialist in Infectious Diseases and Associate Professor of Medicine at The Australian National University, said “About 90% of vaccines never make it to market. This is a reminder of the stark reality of vaccine development. The issue was an unusual one, not related to efficacy or even to safety in the usual sense. The problem was that the innovative molecular clamp technology of the UQ vaccine had needed a protein from the HIV virus: the gp41 protein. There was never any risk of participants in the trial getting HIV but it did mean that some participants were testing positive to HIV even though they didn’t have HIV.

“Given that millions of people in Australia and around the world might have received the vaccine, this could have led to confusion and anxiety as people tested positive to HIV without actually having the infection.”

The Australian Government is also part of the international COVAX Facility which allows the purchases of over 25 million doses of a range of other potential vaccines.

Australia remains on track for first vaccinations in March, and completion of whole of population in 2021.


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