Canada in a ‘Good Position’
Canada is moving closer to approving the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
"If I use [the UK] as an example, we got approval at 1:00 am in the morning. We approved [the] release of the vaccine and shipped it within 24 hours," said Sean Marett, the chief business and CCO of BioNTech, which developed one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines in a partnership with the US giant Pfizer.
"Certainly from the discussions that we've had, Canada is in a good position to approve the vaccine shortly," Marett added.
The vaccine has been recently approved in the United States for emergency use and could receive the green light in Canada this week as well. Canada’s health regulators are also examining other vaccines, including those developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen.
Marret said that after the approval, BioNTech will immediately release the product and ship it globally. He added that the German drugmaker has already reserved doses of the vaccine for Canada.
Before the federal government initiates the launch plan, they must wait for regulatory approval.
“What we expect to see in January is [a] constant flow of vaccines that come in, Pfizer and others as well, as they become available. So, they will be distributed, and then the next wave comes in… next delivery comes in for the second dose, in a prescribed timeframe,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the vice president of logistics and operations within the Public Health Agency of Canada.
India Seeking Approval for AstraZeneca’s Vaccine
India’s Serum institute has reportedly requested approval for emergency use in the country for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine on Sunday. The Institute has reached out to the Drugs Controller General of India right after Pfizer applied for approval for its coronavirus vaccine in India on December 5.
“We remain committed to engaging with the Government of India and explore opportunities to make this vaccine available for use in the country,” said a Pfizer representative.
In its application, the institute cited data from four clinical reviews, including two from Britain and one from Brazil and India each. According to this data, Serum’s coronavirus vaccine named “Covishield” was proven to be very effective against severe coronavirus infections.
AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is viable for distribution in India when it comes to logistics, as the product can be kept at two to eight degrees Celsius.
Sinovac Raises Further $515 Million to Increase Vaccine Production
The Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech said it has raised $515 million in funding from a Chinese company to double the production output of its COVID-19 vaccine. The drugmaker is expecting efficacy data from its experimental vaccine later this month.
Following successful results from its early to mid-phase clinical trials, the Chinese drugmaker has struck supply deals with a number of countries for its experimental coronavirus vaccine CoronaVac.
The company said that a business firm is set to inject $515 million in Sinovac Life Sciences, a Sinovac Biotech’s unit in an effort to facilitate the development and production of their product.
In another statement, Sinovac said it expects to produce 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses on a yearly basis and intends to build a second production plant by the end of this year to boost annual production of the vaccine to 600 million doses.
Depending on future market circumstances and available capital, the drugmaker said it may increase its output capacity even further. Sinovac Biotech has cut a supply deal with many countries, including Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, and Chile, and is currently in negotiations with the Philippines.
Its product represents one of the three experimental coronavirus vaccines in China that have been used to vaccinate about 1 million citizens as a part of an emergency use program.
Major countries across the globe are making progress in approving and distributing COVID-19 vaccines as the number of average new daily infections in the US reaches 200,000.