Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines approved for booster scheme
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The British drugmaker has announced it reached the milestone earlier this month. It places it as the first company in the western world to do so and only second behind China’s home-grown Sinovac jab. AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is a joint effort with the University of Oxford, is made in 15 countries, the biggest geographical manufacturing footprint of any Covid jabs.
The news comes after Dr Sandy Douglas, from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute revealed that the groundbreaking manufacturing process used to produce the vaccine at scale was invented just two months before the pandemic.
She said: “Few people realise how easily we might not have had this vaccine at all.
“If our manufacturing discovery had come six months later, I don’t know whether we would have been able as a university to persuade companies that we were a credible partner.”
AstraZeneca’s success comes despite accusations earlier this year from EU officials that AstraZeneca had been too slow to deliver supplies of the jab to the bloc.
It also comes after Mr Macron said the jab was “almost ineffective” and telling reporters the jab “doesn’t work the way we were expecting to”.
His Europe minister then accused the UK of taking “massive risks” by depending too heavily on its home-grown jab.
He seems to have since changed his view on the jab, with his Government appearing to U-turn on the view by approving the jab for some older people.
Last week AstraZeneca said it will start making a profit from its Covid jab.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said: “Our vaccine has played a huge role in tackling the biggest public health emergency of our lifetime.
“While much of the world still has to be vaccinated…today is a proud day and testament to what can be achieved when we all work together.”
AstraZeneca will start making only a small profit from the vaccine, and that profit will be diverted to fund the work on the new Covid wonder drug.
The antibody treatment will be aimed at helping those that already have Covid, rather than preventing infections.
It comes after their sales went up 28 percent to just over $25billion (£18.7billion).
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The sales of the vaccines manufactured by the Anglo-Swedish company completely outshone rival companies Pfizer, whose sales weighed in at $13billion (£9.8billion) and Moderna, who sold $5billion (£3.7billion).
But the company had not increased its profits guidance for the year, which meant the share prices were two percent lower.
AstraZeneca will still supply the vaccine at cost to developing nations.
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