Keeping tabs on Covid-19: Updates on the second Covid-19 vaccine approved in the UK and Bayer’s latest global supply chain infrastructure deal

Find out how Bayer plan to facilitate the global supply of millions of Covid-19 doses and dive into the announcement from Oxford University and AstraZeneca on the second Covid-19 vaccine authorized by a UK medicines regulator

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Unfortunately, the hope of pandemic life ending after ringing in the New Year has not become a reality, but in many ways, 2021 brings new and positive ways to combat the health crisis. For example, pharmaceutical regulatory bodies are working tirelessly to fast track the approval of vaccines to treat Covid-19, doctors are now better prepared to handle patients with coronavirus and testing is becoming faster and more accessible.

This week, dive into some of the solutions carried over from 2020 that will help to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus in 2021.

The New Year brings new hope as UK regulators approve Oxford vaccine for emergency use

The UK government accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorize the emergency use of Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) in the UK.

The UK was the first in the world to sign an agreement with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, securing access to 100 million doses of the vaccine on behalf of the whole of the UK, crown dependencies and overseas territories.

From December 30, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been prioritizing vaccinating patients with the Oxford vaccine in the most high-risk groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80, and health and care workers.

With Pfizer and BioNTech rolling out their vaccine for distribution in the UK on December 2, government officials in the UK have stated the NHS are in a very good place to deliver two vaccination programs to patients most in need on a large scale. In addition, the UK government has exercised its option to purchase an additional 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna, approved for temporary authorization use this afternoon on January 8, by the UK Commission on Human Medicines.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock remarked: “Vaccines are the exit route from the pandemic. We have already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people and the Oxford jab will allow us to accelerate our vaccination plan, allowing us to return to normality in the future."

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “Thanks to the determination and sheer ingenuity of our incredible scientists, this vaccine will save very many lives at home and protect those in some of the world’s poorest nations, helping to bring this global pandemic to an end.”

CureVac recruits Bayer to plan the supply of hundreds of millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses

CureVac and Bayer have signed a collaboration agreement to develop a new class of transformative medicines based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). Under the agreement, Bayer will support the development of CureVac’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoC, vaccine supply and operations. Bayer will contribute its expertise and established infrastructure in areas such as clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, medical information and supply chain performance to facilitate the global supply of several hundreds of millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Stefan Oelrich, President of the Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division and a member of Bayer’s management board, said: “The need for vaccines against Covid-19 is enormous. We are, therefore, pleased to be able to provide significant support to CureVac, a leader in mRNA technology, in advancing the further development and supply of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.”

Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, Chief Executive Officer of CureVac, said: “We are very happy to join forces with Bayer, whose expertise and infrastructure will help us make our vaccine candidate CVnCoV even more rapidly available to as many people as possible.
“Building on the positive data we have seen so far with CVnCoV, we now also have another strong partner on our side to get the vaccine to the people who need it following the receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals,” Hass added.

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