The UK government said on Friday that it had asked independent drug regulators to study Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine with an eye on imminent developments.
The announcement came after a major pharmaceutical company and its German partner said they would ask US regulators for an emergency license to use the vaccine, a major step towards fighting a pandemic.
In another potential boost, a UK study showed that individuals infected with the coronavirus were less likely to get sick again for at least 6 months.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said the government has formally requested the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to evaluate the suitability of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
If approved, the vaccine will be free “on delivery” throughout the UK from the state-run United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS).
If the MHRA agreed on a jab, the service is ready to launch a mass vaccination program next month, he said at a news conference.
The UK has killed more than 54,000 people from 1.4 million cases and is one of the most affected countries in the world due to this outbreak, ordering 40 million doses.
Researchers at Oxford University said large-scale research on Covid-19 reinfection produced promising results.
The study was started after observations from medical professionals that reinfection was relatively rare.
“We can be confident that most people who get Covid-19 will not get it again, at least in the short term,” said one of the authors, Professor David Eyre of Oxford University.
The authors emphasized that they have not yet collected sufficient data to determine reinfection after 6 months.
However, the ongoing investigation has the ultimate goal of verifying how long the protection lasts in total.
Katie Jeffery, director of infection prevention and management at Oxford University Hospital (OUH), a research partner, called the discovery “exciting.”
“Viral infections provide at least short-term protection from reinfection,” she added.
Moderna, a US biotechnology company, announced this week that vaccine candidates are nearly 95% effective in trials. It was a week after Pfizer and BioNTech announced similar results.
The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the Oxford study, which stated that the findings expanded its understanding of coronavirus protection.
“We really admire the researchers who did these studies,” WHO chief emergency officer Michael Ryan told reporters in Geneva that the findings provided “best data.” explained.
Ryan added that the antibody response detailed in the study provided “hope for longer-term protection” from vaccine candidates.
The Oxford University study on reinfection used data from OUH’s 12,180 health care workers’ regular coronavirus testing over a 30-week period.
It was found that none of the 1,246 staff members with coronavirus antibodies developed symptomatological infections.
Three of the staff members with the antibodies tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19, but all went well and showed no symptoms.
The United Nations Health Agency said it is pooling these results to give a complete picture of how the pandemic is progressing.
© 2020 AFP
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