October 23, 2021

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Coronavirus vaccine update: Russia says Sputnik V to be cheaper than US vaccines, SII keeps ‘India first’ for AstraZeneca vaccine


Coronavirus vaccine update: After the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine showed results that were 70% effective in preventing Covid-19 among volunteers, the company has said the vaccine could go on to be 90% effective.
After the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine showed results that were 70% effective in preventing Covid-19 among volunteers, the company has said the vaccine could go on to be 90% effective. Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII) which is making the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, has said it will first focus on distributing the vaccine in India.
Russia, on the other hand, has assured that its Sputnik V vaccine will be cheaper than the coronavirus vaccines being developed by the US, including the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine.
AstraZeneca vaccine could be 90% effective
After announcing that its coronavirus vaccine is 70% effective on average, AstraZeneca has now said the vaccine could go on to be 90% effective and give the world another potent weapon against Covid-19 that will be both cheaper and readily available.
AstraZeneca has also said that compared to the volume of coronavirus vaccine Pfizer is making, AstraZeneca will have many more doses ready for the world. The company has said 200 million doses by the end of 2020, which is 4 times what Pfizer is making.
Its earlier announcement of the coronavirus vaccine being 70% effective came as a dampener as 3 other vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Russia’s Sputnik V had over 90% effective vaccines in the pipeline.
However, AstraZeneca has an advantage with its affordable pricing and is also easy to store at normal fridge temperatures unlike the Pfizer vaccine that requires storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
‘India first’ for SII on delivering AstraZeneca vaccine
As AstraZeneca delivered positive news on its coronavirus vaccine development front, its Indian partner Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla said the company will focus on delivering the vaccine in India first. “It’s very important we take care of our country first, then go on to Covax after that and then other bilateral deals with countries. So, I’ve kept it in that priority,” said Poonawalla.
Adar Poonawalla said that the Serum Institute is in talks with the government to seal a purchase agreement and expects the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine to hit Indian markets by April 2021.
SII chief Poonawalla has also said that quantities of the vaccine will be ready to sell in India’s private market in the first quarter of 2021.
Russia says its Sputnik V vaccine will be cheaper
Russia claims its pioneering Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will cost less than its Western rivals who have a hefty price tag and also difficult storage and logistics requirement. After the vaccine effectiveness announcements US pharma giants have started to announce how much their products will cost. Now Russia has said its vaccine candidate will be cheaper.
The two American drugmakers that aim to bring their vaccines to market first have now revealed their pricing strategies. Pfizer, which filed for US approval of its formula on Saturday, said earlier that a dose of its product will carry a $19.50 price tag. Moderna, thought to be close to signing a deal for a comprehensive rollout in the European Union, announced this week that it will charge between $25-37.
With a person requiring 2 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, spaced over weeks, the overall cost will be doubled $39 for Pfizer and $50-74 for Moderna.
WHO hopeful of AstraZeneca vaccine
World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday they were waiting to see the efficacy and safety of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and urged other developers to maintain efforts in order to provide enough doses for billions of people.
Soumya Swaminathan, said that the company’s highest reported success rates of around 90 percent was “encouraging” but based on “rather small numbers.”

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