Tag Archives: Biotechnology & Medical Research (TRBC level 4)

Modi from India visited a major vaccine facility as COVID-19 cases escalated | Instant News

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country’s three leading vaccine development and production sites on Saturday as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

India has recorded 9.35 million COVID-19 infections, second only to the United States. It reported 41,322 new cases and 485 deaths as of Saturday.

The western state of Maharashtra – home to India’s financial hub Mumbai – has been hard hit by the virus. The tally is 1.68 million cases higher than for countries such as Spain, Italy and the UK.

Modi undertook a three-city whirlwind tour and visited the Zydus Cadila facility in the western city of Ahmedabad, the Bharat Biotech facility in the southern hub of Hyderabad and the sprawling campus at the Serum Institute of India in the western city of Pune.

After the visit, Modi said India’s role in developing the vaccine was a global good and he was pleased with the rapid progress being made.

“It is India’s duty to assist other countries, including countries in our neighborhood, in the collective fight against the virus,” Modi said in a statement.

The company is testing self-developed vaccine options, as well as working on trials of vaccines being developed overseas.

The Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine producer, has partnered with global players including AstraZeneca and Novavax Inc to run domestic trials on their vaccine candidates and produce vaccines, if they get approval.

Zydus Cadila is developing the original DNA-based vaccine, ZyCov-D, while privately owned Bharat Biotech is working on a vaccine candidate called COVAXIN in collaboration with the state-run Indian Medical Research Council.

India hopes to complete its final test on COVAXIN in a month or two, said health minister Harsh Vardhan earlier this month.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Edited by Euan Rocha and Christina Fincher


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Bharat Biotech offers a potential Brazilian COVID-19 vaccine | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: A man rides his motorbike past a bus parked by Indian biotech firm Bharat Biotech outside its offices in Hyderabad, India, July 3, 2020. REUTERS / Stringer / File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Bharat Biotech India this week offered a COVID-19 vaccine to Brazil that is in its final stage of clinical trials and a possible technology transfer partnership, a company executive said on Friday.

A private pharmaceutical company based in the southern city of Hyderabad is developing a whole virion inactivated vaccine called Covaxin that could be licensed in the second quarter of 2021.

“The data looks very good in terms of both reduction and prevention of disease, and we are starting Phase 3 clinical trials this week,” Executive Director Sai Prasad told Reuters.

Bharat Biotech is currently recruiting 26,000 volunteers in India for trials and results are expected between March and April, he said.

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that it had offered to provide Brazil with millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021, amid evidence that the coronavirus is spreading faster in South America’s largest country.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE report the results of recent trials showing the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Bharat Biotech representatives met this week with Brazil’s health ministry and regulatory agency officials to see what are the requirements for vaccine licensing in Brazil and whether trials should take place there as well.

“We are very open to partnerships and technology transfer,” Prasad said in an interview from Hyderabad.

Bharat Biotech has sold a Hepatitis B vaccine to Brazil and is developing another vaccine for Zika and Chicungunya that the South American country is interested in, he said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Edited by Nick Macfie


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Brazil will not relieve the makers of the COVID-19 vaccine from responsibility, said the deputy minister | Instant News

FILE PHOTOS: A vial labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” and a medical syringe seen in an illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil has no intention of enacting a law that would exempt COVID-19 vaccine makers from liability, the country’s deputy health minister Elcio Franco said Thursday.

Franco said a meeting held this week in Brasilia with vaccine developers should lead to a non-binding memorandum of understanding on possible future purchases of a vaccine against COVID-19.

He said the price and target population would be factors in deciding a purchase.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Edited by Chris Reese


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Pfizer offers Brazil deals for millions of vaccine doses | Instant News

FILE PHOTOS: Pfizer logo seen at their UK commercial headquarters in Walton Oaks, England, 11 November 2020. REUTERS / Peter Cziborra

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday it had offered to provide Brazil with millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021, amid evidence that the coronavirus is spreading more rapidly in South America’s largest country.

“Pfizer submitted a proposal to the Brazilian government, in line with agreements we concluded in other countries – including in Latin America, which would allow the vaccination of millions of Brazilians in the first half, subject to regulatory approval,” the company said in a statement.

Brazil has the third worst coronavirus outbreak in the world by number of cases, after the United States and India.

On Tuesday, Imperial College London released data showing that the infection rate in Brazil had risen to 1.1, meaning every 100 people with the coronavirus infected 110 people. It was the first time in weeks the figure had been above one.

Brazil’s Health Ministry said it met with Pfizer on Tuesday and would buy the vaccine if it is proven safe and if Anvisa’s health regulator registers it. The ministry also said it would meet this week with Johnson & Johnson J & JN, Bharat Biotech India and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine maker when drawing up an immunization plan.

Anvisa has signed rules to speed up approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a notice published in a government newspaper on Wednesday.

The new rules allow the lab to present data to Anvisa continuously as it is created rather than waiting for all documentation to be completed. The regulatory impact analysis and public consultation that would normally be required will also be lifted.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Jake Spring, Lisandra Paraguay and Gabriel Araujo; Edited by Tom Brown


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Brazil will receive China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, eyeing candidate Pfizer | Instant News

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo will begin importing the first of 46 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to fight COVID-19 this week, while the federal government is taking a more cautious approach with a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.

Federal health officials met with Pfizer representatives on Tuesday as Brazil tried to secure vaccine supplies. The Health Ministry said in a statement that it would buy the Pfizer vaccine, which is currently in Phase 3 trials, if it is proven safe and registered with the Anvisa health authority.

While drawing up the immunization plan, the ministry will also meet this week with Johnson & Johnson, India’s Bharat Biotech and Russia’s Sputnik V. vaccine maker.

Brazil has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, leading pharmaceutical companies to carry out their vaccine trials in South America’s largest country.

State health authorities have taken a more aggressive stance than their federal counterparts in securing vaccine supplies.

The director of the Sao Paulo state Butantan Institute’s biomedical center, Dimas Covas, said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday that Butantan is expected to have 46 million doses of Sinovac ready in January for use if approved by Brazilian health regulator Anvisa.

Butantan is conducting phase 3 trials of the vaccine in Brazil, with Covas saying preliminary results show the vaccine has an excellent safety profile.

Covas said 10,000 volunteers have received about 19,000 shots of the two-dose vaccine, and 2,000 people still need to be included in the trial.

Anvisa suspended trials for a day and a half last week after the death of a volunteer, which police reported as suicide and Butantan said had nothing to do with the vaccine.

The temporary suspension did not affect clinical trials, Covas said, adding that Butantan had a “very good understanding” of Anvisa.

Butantan and Anvisa have sent experts to China where they are in a two-week quarantine before they can visit vaccine facilities, they said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Ricardo Brito and Maria Carolina Marcello; Written by Jake Spring; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall and Peter Cooney


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