AstraZeneca’s covid needle sticks saved more than 6 million lives

AstraZeneca’s covid needle sticks saved more than 6 million lives

NEW DELHI : AstraZeneca plc is working on next-generation covid-19 vaccines in the ongoing battle against the pandemic, said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, managing director of the UK-based pharmaceutical company’s India unit. During the pandemic, the covid-19 vaccines made by the company helped save more than six million lives worldwide as of December 2021, Bedi said in an interview. To date, AstraZeneca and its partners have supplied more than three billion doses of vaccines to more than 180 countries. Roughly two-thirds of these went to low- and lower-middle-income countries, including more than 470 million doses delivered to 130 countries through Covax facilities. Speaking about the recent contaminated cough syrup incident, Bedi said understanding the regulatory processes around it is necessary to prevent such events in the future. Edited excerpts:

Is AstraZeneca working on a next generation covid vaccine?

We have multiple offerings when it comes to the battle against covid, particularly for the vulnerable population, to offer a remarkable package of protection that can really last. As variants change, so do the possibilities for vaccine generation, and an immense amount of work is being done. Every time he has a new variant, he tests his vaccine against it. Therefore, it is part of the clinical development program. He then develops variants of these vaccines to counteract them. So yes; we are working on next generation covid vaccines and work is in progress.

What kind of collaborations has AstraZeneca done in the recent past?

The most impactful collaboration we saw in India, as well as globally, was the Oxford-AztraZeneca partnership, which truly turned the tide in our battle against covid-19. Particularly if you look from the context of a developing world and specifically India, our covid vaccines have been used by over 90% of the adult population, which is huge. Much is due to the fact that we are a country with a sheltered economy with early access to covid vaccines. In July 2020, AstraZeneca decided to technologically transfer it to the Serum Institute. The second part was to establish the entire clinical development program, which was carried out at an unprecedented pace. Third, it was the most affordable vaccine in the world. The firm decided not to collect any profit during the years 2020 and 2021 and that made it very accessible to governments around the world. Our partnership with Serum has been legendary in terms of the capacity, scale and professionalism they brought to the table. So, that was a very significant collaboration that we’ve done. Apart from this, we have multiple collaborations worldwide. Our acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is also a success in meeting the need for rare diseases. In India, we have collaborated with Sun Pharma for two of our medicines like Dapagliflozin, for which we really need their capabilities to go beyond the metropolitan areas. We’ve also partnered with the governments of Sweden and India and established a center of excellence at AIIMS Delhi and Jodhpur, where we’re trying to see how we can provide diagnosis or treatment for patients.

How many covid-19 vaccines has AstraZeneca supplied worldwide in the last two years?

The vaccine is estimated to have helped save more than six million lives between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021. Our shared commitment to equitable global access has helped protect lives in low- and lower-middle-income countries. . To date, AstraZeneca and our partners have released the supply of more than 3 billion doses of vaccines to more than 180 countries on all continents. About two-thirds of these went to low- and lower-middle-income countries, including more than 470 million doses delivered to 130 countries through Covax facilities.

What is the status of AstraZeneca’s nasal covid vaccine?

The intranasal covid formulation is always an option for a vaccine and showed an acceptable tolerability profile, but did not induce a consistent mucosal antibody response or a strong systemic response. For this reason, together with the University of Oxford, we have decided to discontinue this project.

What is the company doing in oncology?

We have invested significantly in oncology intervention in the last five years. We are conducting more than 30 clinical trials around the world on the oncology front. The last thing we are doing now is a new intervention in the treatment of lung cancer for early diagnosis and access.

How do you see the recent controversy over contaminated cough syrups?

It is a very unfortunate development that happened recently. Let’s not rush and wait for the drug manufacturing process to be investigated, find where the gaps were, and understand that first. The reputation of the Indian pharmaceutical industry has been built over decades and we have more audits at all levels. Overall, we have been the largest supplier of generics and hailed as the world’s pharmacy for years. I don’t think it’s reputational damage; it’s more about understanding the regulatory process around it that we could have done differently, in terms of strong oversight, to avoid a situation like this.

See all corporate news and updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News app for daily market updates and live trading news.

more less

Leave a Comment