The program area manager for immunization and vaccine development at the World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Richard Mihigo, said that effective vaccines to battle the novel coronavirus will not be required to administer annually. After a large investment from the US government, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca recently started its late-stage trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The WHO official also spoke about phase 3 clinical trials of several candidate vaccines in South Africa as he said that it is unclear how long it will take for reliable results to be delivered out of the tests.
Dr. Mihigo said, “It's difficult to predict now for how long the effect of the vaccine will last. It's true that for flu vaccines, most of the time we need to repeat it every year, depending on the different strains of the virus being seasonal for north, west, etc. For the coronavirus, we believe that it may not necessarily be the case”.
He added, “Our role is to create an enabling environment in which these therapeutics, these vaccines can be tested. And then we observe what will be the outcome of such clinical trials. It's very difficult to predict when [we will see] the outcome”.
As per a recent press release by AstraZeneca, the company will begin with 2 trials comprising 6,000 participants. Also, they have further plans to add 4,000 more in order to test the antibody medicine.
According to the reports by ANI, three vaccine producers are currently conducting trials of vaccines in South Africa- AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Speaking about the same, Mihigo said, “We do have a few clinical trials currently going on, mainly in South Africa ... The AstraZeneca trial started a couple of weeks ago. We have a Novavax vaccine that also started in South Africa and, most recently, the Johnson&Johnson vaccine that also started in South Africa. Other countries have also been approached - Kenya, Uganda - but clinical trials have not yet started there”.
After Trump recovered from the novel coronavirus, the US Government decided to invest an amount of $486 million into the British Pharmaceutical company. This amount comes in an addition to the $25 million it already invested when the company’s potential COVID vaccine entered phase I trials. Through this deal the US managed to secure hundreds of thousands of doses of the experimental treatments by the end of 2020.