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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine results to be delivered by end of 2020

By Don Jacobson
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine results to be delivered by end of 2020
The company's AZD1222 vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford and is in the final phase of trials in the United States, Britain, Brazil and South Africa. File Photo by Dan Himbrechts/EPA-EFE

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Pharma company AstraZeneca said Thursday it is on track to deliver results from late-stage human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate before the end of the year.

The announcement raised hopes that an effective vaccine against the coronavirus disease could become available before the start of 2021.

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"Results from late-stage trials are anticipated later this year, depending on the rate of infection within the communities where the clinical trials are being conducted," AstraZeneca said Thursday in its third quarter earnings report.

The company is developing the AZD1222 vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford. It is in the final phase of trials in the United States, Britain, Brazil and South Africa with 23,000 volunteers.

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The British and U.S. trials were temporarily placed on hold two months ago when two participants exhibited unexplained illnesses, and AstraZeneca has already missed an initial September target of delivering 30 million doses to the British government.

"In the fight against COVID-19, we advanced our vaccine collaboration with the University of Oxford and are launching Phase III trials for our long-acting antibody combination for the prophylaxis and treatment against COVID-19 for people who need an immediate defense or whose weaker immune systems mean they are less likely to benefit from a vaccine," said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot.

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The drugmaker reported a 7% increase in global sales, to $6.5 billion, from July to October, which Soriot called "encouraging headway" despite "ongoing disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic."

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AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is one of several candidates now in late-stage clinical trials worldwide, along with efforts from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Novavax and Moderna.

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