AstraZeneca confident on COVID-19 vaccine progress this year

British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca expects data from late-stage trials of a vaccine on COVID-19 to be available later this year.

The announcement was made as part of its bullish third quarter trading update.

The company has taken on the development of Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, securing billions in funding and signing multiple deals to supply over three billion doses to countries around the world.

Data in October showed the vaccine, called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, produces an immune response in both old and young adults.

AstraZeneca is expected to publish eagerly awaited late-stage clinical trial data in the coming weeks.

Expectations are still that Britain could start rolling out a successful vaccine in late December or early 2021, but the path to development has not been easy.

Yesterday (4 November) it emerged that the timetable for delivery of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate has slipped and that Britain will receive just 4 million doses of the shot this year, according to the head of the UK’s vaccine procurement programme.

In May, Britain agreed a deal for 100 million doses of the vaccine, with 30 million doses estimated for delivery by September 2020- a date that was missed.

The scientist at Oxford University leading the research in conjunction with AstraZeneca, Professor Andy Pollard, nonetheless said he was optimistic that late-stage trial results of its efficacy could be presented before the end of the year, and that doses of the shot are already being made.