A worldwide hunt for a vaccine for the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease is underway, even as the global tally due to the infection has risen to more than 45 million, including 1.1 million deaths. While the caseload of the United States, the worst-hit country, is hurtling towards ten million, that of India, the second worst-hit country, has crossed eight million.
In the latest update for a coronavirus vaccine, Brazil has said it expects a vaccine approved and ready for use by June 2021 and Russia has temporarily paused vaccinating new volunteers in its trials.
Here are the latest updates over the global search for a Covid-19 vaccine:
1. Brazil is likely to have a vaccine, approved and ready for use, by June 2021, Antonio Barra Torres, the head of the country’s health regulator, Anvisa, has said. Torres said while Anvisa has not decided on the minimum efficacy required to approve a vaccine, in the past, the regulator has approved vaccines with less than 50% effectiveness. Brazil has the third-highest number of cases globally.
(2.) Russia, which claims to have developed the world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine–the Sputnik V–has temporarily paused vaccinating new volunteers in its vaccine trial due to high demand for doses amid a shortage. Some clinics in the Russian capital of Moscow said they had run out specifically of the first component of the two-dose jab (the second component is injected 21 days after the first). However, the director of the institute developing the vaccine said the decision was “due to a new focus on giving those already vaccinated a second dose.”
(3.) American biotechnology firm Moderna Inc said on Thursday it is on track to report early data from a late-stage trial of its Covid-19 vaccine, next month. The company is conducting trials on 30,000 persons adding that in November, an independent data monitoring committee is expected to conduct an interim review of its trials. Moderna is developing a vaccine called mRNA and says it expects to produce 20 million doses by 2021-end.
(4.) EU leaders on Thursday agreed to ‘fairly distribute’ among member countries, a vaccine against the disease, as and when one becomes available. “We very much agreed, it was repeated around the video conference table, to guarantee a fair distribution between member states,” Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said.