Tag Archives: Pharmacy & Medical Research (TRBC level 2)

Australia says Italy’s block on the AstraZeneca vaccine is frustrating but not crucial | Instant News

CANBERRA, March 5 (Reuters) – The Australian government on Friday expressed frustration over Italy’s decision to block deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, but stressed it would not affect the launch of Australia’s inoculation program.

Italy, supported by the European Commission, blocked plans to export around 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after drug manufacturers failed to meet EU contractual commitments.

“The world is in uncharted territory at the moment, it’s no surprise that some countries will tear up the rule book,” Australian Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky News.

“This shows how well Australia continues to do compared to the desperation of other countries.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia had received 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will last until local vaccine production increases.

“This is a single shipment from a country,” Hunt said in an emailed statement. “This shipment is not factored into our distribution plans for the coming weeks.”

AstraZeneca did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Australia started an inoculation program two weeks ago, vaccinating frontline health staff and the elderly with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine despite limited doses of the vaccine amid tight global supplies.

Officials on Friday administered the first AstraZeneca vaccine to a doctor in the state of South Australia.

Australia has ordered 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. Local pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd has secured the rights to produce 50 million of these doses in Australia.

The doses will form the backbone of Australia’s inoculation program, which is expected to be completed in October.

Australia is under less pressure than many other countries, recording just under 29,000 cases of COVID-19 and 909 deaths. Lower infection and death counts have been aided by tight lockdowns, rapid tracking systems and border closings. (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Jane Wardell)


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Germany will provide a single dose of AstraZeneca vaccine to COVID-19 patients | Instant News

BERLIN, March 4 (Reuters) – The German vaccine commission said on Thursday that people who have recovered from COVID-19 should receive a single dose of vaccine from AstraZeneca, a decision that may reduce scarce supplies.

A single dose should be given six months after a person is diagnosed with the disease, the Permanent Vaccination Commission said in a statement released by the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Caroline Copley)


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Waive the patents for the COVID vaccine to benefit poor countries, activists say | Instant News

GENEVA (Reuters) – Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staged a protest at the World Trade Organization on Thursday against what it says is the reluctance of the rich world to give up patents and allow more production of COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.

Activists seeking to waive intellectual property rules unfurl a large sign reading “No Monopoly on COVID – Rich Countries Stop Blocking TRIPS Waivers” in a park next to the WTO headquarters on Lake Geneva.

They want the terms of the TRIPS agreement – Aspects of Intellectual Property Related to WTO Trade – to be replaced to allow generic or other manufacturers to make new products.

WTO member states are holding new talks next week on proposals by India and South Africa to override regulations for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

“If we have neglect, we will be able in a number of countries to increase production now, which will allow diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to get to where they are most needed,” Stephen Cornish, general director of MSF Switzerland, told Reuters at the WTO.

“At the moment we are seeing very few vaccines making it to the global South, and this is unacceptable in the world today,” he said.

About 100 countries are now supporting the campaign, Cornish added.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), backed up the move in a tweet on Thursday: “If a temporary patent waiver cannot be issued now, during these unprecedented times, when is the right time?”

“Big Pharmacy” has rejected a proposal that would grant compulsory licensing overriding patent rules. Britain, Switzerland and the United States, which have strong domestic pharmaceutical industries, are against neglect.

“Rich countries, EU, US, Canada and Switzerland … are blocking that reduction. And they’re doing it in the name of profit and business and the status quo instead of putting people’s lives over profit, “Cornish said.

Globally, 265 million doses of vaccine have been given, with 80% in just 10 countries, WHO emergency expert Mike Ryan said on social media on Wednesday evening.

He welcomed the launch of the first COVID-19 vaccine this week through the COVAX facility which aims to deliver doses to low-income countries, starting in Ivory Coast.

Nearly 10 million doses have been given in more than 10 countries, he said, adding: “It is a big step forward in terms of at least starting the journey towards better vaccine distribution around the world.”

additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Written by Stephanie Nebehay; edited by William Maclean


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Italy could mass produce a vaccine in 4-6 months: service | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker holds a COVID-19 vaccine bottle at a newly opened mass vaccination center at the Cecchignola military complex, in Rome, Italy, February 23, 2021. REUTERS / Remo Casilli

MILAN (Reuters) – Several Italian companies have given their availability to produce the COVID-19 vaccine and production could take off in 4-6 months after regulatory authorization, the industry ministry said on Wednesday.

Many companies will be ready to manufacture bulk drug substances – the active ingredients of vaccines – “because they already have, or will soon have, the necessary bioreactors and fermentation equipment,” the statement said.

He added that the government is willing to set up a research center in Italy for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, which are financed by public and private investment.

Report by Giuseppe Fonte, by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Giulia Segreti


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UPDATE Governor of Brazil 1 to buy vaccine directly due to slow federal rollout | Instant News

(Added comment by pharmaceutical company CEO)

BRASILIA, March 2 (Reuters) – The governor of a Brazilian state struggling to get a vaccine for COVID-19 said on Tuesday that they were gathering to bypass President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration and buy the injection in person due to delays in the federal inoculation program.

Half of Brazil’s 26 governors visited the pharmaceutical company União Quimica in Brasilia, which will produce Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. The São Paulo government says it will purchase 20 million doses.

Sputnik V must be authorized for emergency use by the Brazilian health regulator Anvisa before its dosage can be used.

Piauí Wellington governor Dias said they hoped Anvisa could authorize emergency use next week, but top executives of União Quimica said in an interview that the company was still filing documents.

Brazilian states, facing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that are weighing on their hospital wards, are frustrated by the failure of the Bolsonaro government to secure timely supplies of vaccines.

With more than a quarter of a million Brazilians dying from COVID-19 – the world’s second-deadliest outbreak – Brazil is experiencing its highest weekly toll since the pandemic began a year ago. However, only a little more than 3% of the 210 million population has been vaccinated.

União Quimica, a private company that produces medicines for humans and animals, plans to start producing the Russian vaccine in April with a technology transfer from Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute that includes local production of injectable active ingredients.

Company Chief Executive Fernando Marques said he expects to make 90 million doses of Sputnik V this year, but how much will be available to Brazilian states or exported to neighboring countries will depend on the volume demanded by his company’s priority customer, the federal government.

“We will start production in April and then we can see how much surplus we can supply,” he said by telephone.

So far, Brazil has relied on a limited supply of the China Coronavac vaccine, made by Sinovac, and the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford.

João Doria, governor of São Paulo – the country’s most populous state – said this week his government will bypass the federal Ministry of Health if it fails to supply the vaccines it needs. On Tuesday, he told reporters that his country would go ahead and buy 20 million doses of the Russian vaccine. (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia and Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo; Written by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Jonathan Oatis)


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