U.S. considering dozens of candidates in push for COVID-19 vaccine

The US government plans to store hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines under development to combat the new coronavirus, with the goal of having one or more vaccines ready to be deployed by the end of the year, the country's health secretary said on Friday. market.

"We have over 100 vaccine candidates that have been discovered," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox Business Network.

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"What we are doing now is to tighten the stocks for the core group where we will place huge bets of hundreds of millions of dollars and scale the massive domestic production of vaccines so that by the end of the year we hope that this year will have one or more safe vaccines and effective and hundreds of millions of doses ".

The White House has set a goal of having 300 million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.

Azar said the government was using "all the power of the US government and the private sector here to compress all of these [drug trial] Timelines. "

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However, infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday in the Senate that the idea that there will be a vaccine available in the fall when schools and universities resume classes , it was "a bridge far away".

CLOCK l Vaccine development, both competitive and cooperative:

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Darryl Falzarano, from the University of Saskatchewan, is part of the worldwide effort towards the COVID-19 vaccine and says that a limited deployment in January remains a "possibility". 5:26

In terms of distribution, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview earlier this week that he expected any vaccine developed to be shared worldwide.

"I hope that all of us collectively will find a way to produce this at high volume to reach it worldwide and ensure that all citizens who need access to a vaccine can get it as soon as possible," said the main diplomat. from the USA. Kan 11 News from Israel during a trip there.

Lowest tier in France with access to the USA

Scientists are rushing to find treatments and vaccines for a disease that has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide, including about 86,000 in the United States and more than 5,570 in Canada since the beginning of Friday. Even as countries deal with the ongoing pandemic, experts are assessing the impact that any potential vaccine can have on a disease that has already revealed inequalities and power struggles in the world.

"A vaccine against COVID-19 must be a public good for the world," said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Thursday, noting that "equal access for everyone" is "non-negotiable".

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Philippe was speaking after CEO Paul Hudson of Sanofi, a pharmaceutical giant in Paris, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday: "The U.S. government is entitled to the biggest pre-order because it has invested in taking the risk."

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He apologized on Thursday, saying it was vital for any coronavirus vaccine to reach all regions.

Hudson, who will meet French President Emmanuel Macron next week, criticizes Europe's ability to develop and manufacture a vaccine for months. He asked for a European version of the US agency that is helping Sanofi develop its vaccine.

The Sanofi logo is seen at the company's research and production center in Vitry-sur-Seine, France, in 2019. The corporation is headquartered in France, but has current vaccine agreements with the U.S. government and an American company . (Charlies Platiau / Reuters)

Sanofi is working on two vaccine projects, one with British rival GlaxoSmithKline Plc, which received financial support from the US Department of Health's Advanced Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the other with the American company Translate Bio, which will use technology different.

World leaders in April promised to speed up their work on COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly contagious new coronavirus, but the United States did not participate.

The Trump administration also ignored a pledge last week from world leaders and organizations to spend $ 8 billion in the U.S. to manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine and treatments.

Chinese company CanSino Biologics is already conducting human clinical trials for its potential COVID-19 vaccine. The National Research Council of Canada said this week that it is working with CanSino to try to develop it more quickly.

There is still no vaccine against HIV, which appeared in the early 1980s, or SARS, a coronavirus that hit Asia in 2002.

In addition to the supply, there are doubts about price, but an expert said on Friday that the huge scale will help keep costs down and supply down.

Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, who partnered with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop a vaccine, said ensuring wide distribution and low cost was essential to the project from the start.

"This will not be an expensive vaccine," Hill told Reuters in an interview. "It will be a single dose vaccine. It will be made for global supply and in many different locations. That has always been our plan."

Very optimistic vaccine schedules: US whistleblower

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he believed there would be a vaccine by the end of the year, without offering evidence to support the optimistic outlook. The government dubbed its vaccination effort "Operation Warp Speed".

"I think we will get a vaccine by the end of the year and I think the distribution will take place almost simultaneously, because we are preparing the armed forces," he told reporters at the White House, saying more details are expected. on Friday.

Trump, who faces re-election in November after winning the "America First" agenda in 2016, called for a rapid reopening of the U.S. economy, despite the lack of approved treatment, vaccines or widespread testing.

WATCH Health expert warns of possible & # 39; dark winter & # 39; to the USA:

Dr. Rick Bright, who was dismissed as director of the agency responsible for developing drugs to fight the coronavirus, said at a hearing in the US Congress that his first warnings about the pandemic were received with indifference and that the country has only limited time to improve your response. . 2:01

Rick Bright, a US whistleblower who was removed last month as director of BARDA, told the U.S. House of Representatives committee on Thursday that he was concerned about preparing for the U.S. coronavirus, including vaccination efforts.

"A lot of optimism is going around a period of 12 to 18 months [for a vaccine], if everything goes perfectly, "said Bright." We've never seen everything go perfectly. "

"It usually takes 10 years to make a vaccine," he said at another time.

The World Health Organization issued a cautious note on Thursday.

Spokesperson Margaret Harris said in an interview in Geneva that while some treatments in very early studies seem to help, "we have nothing that can kill or stop the virus".

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