The Economist July 4th 2020 pp49-50 Britain. Producing a Vaccine. “Moonshot”
“Oxford University has taken the lead in the race to produce a covid-19 vaccine”.
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As the title “Moonshot” suggests finding a vaccine “has come to resemble a more urgent version of the space race”. All told, according to the Milken Institute, 180 vaccines are in development. Noteworthy, “In late June China waved through an emergency authorization to allow its armed forces to use a vaccine that remains incompletely tested”. The Oxford vaccine and one from China are in late stage clinical trials. Oxford started work January 11th being unencumbered by funding and they have found AstraZeneca as a willing and capable partner to produce a billion or more doses to Europe, Britain, America and “GAVI, a vaccine finance group”. Helping Oxford’s efforts were prior experience in making the related coronavirus MERS vaccine and regulators who prioritized necessary reviews and approvals. Of course, the key question being investigated, at this point, is whether the antibody will effectively neutralize COVID-19. If so, we will know in August and expedited approvals in October could make the Oxford vaccine available immediately for high-risk groups. Final testing for putting the vaccine in general use could come in early 2021. Cost of making the vaccine is low “cup of coffee”. Governments must cooperate on determining priority for distribution.