With the global coronavirus disease (Covid-19) tally nearing the 45 million-mark, governments and organisations across the world have been working for months now to develop a vaccine which will be able to combat the disease and have minimum side effects on people.

Pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on Wednesday said that they will be setting aside 200 million doses of a future Covid-19 vaccine for a global initiative to ensure equitable distribution for all countries – be it rich or poor. An official statement said that both the companies have signed a statement of intent with the Gavi Alliance, which administers the Covax plan for fair vaccine distribution. The Covax plan, which has over 180 countries, seeks to ‘equitably allocate and deliver’ around two billion doses of vaccine by the end of next year.

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Meanwhile, on Monday, a report by the Financial Times said the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine against the coronavirus disease saw a robust immune response in elderly people. Earlier, the trials for the vaccine had stopped after a volunteer fell sick.

As there is a rise in infections particularly in continents such as Europe where countries have started re-imposing lockdowns and other related restrictions, the need to come up with a vaccine at the earliest is of utmost interest.

Here is a look at the latest developments around the Covid-19 vaccine:

1. Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the country’s experimental vaccines were found to be effective with hopes to start mass vaccinations by the end of 2020.

2. US-based biotechnology company Moderna said its independent data monitoring committee is expected to conduct an interim review of its ongoing 30,000-volunteer late-stage trial in the month of November. Moderna has signed deals with the United States government and several other countries.

3. German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said preparations for anti-coronavirus disease vaccinations in the country are underway and added that the government is working on ethical guidelines on who should the shots be available to.

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4. Scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have said the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is used for treating tuberculosis (TB), is also beneficial against Covid-19 among the elderly. Those who are over 60 years of age and have co-morbidities such as hypertension, cardiac issues, kidney-related diseases and several other conditions are more prone to getting infected by Sars-Cov-2, which causes the coronavirus disease.

5. Reports suggest that Chinese-based Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products has started a mid-stage trial of its experimental vaccine. As per details furnished by the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry on Wednesday, the company plans to test the vaccine’s safety and ability to trigger immune responses in Phase 2 clinical trial, which is expected to have 1,000 participants.

(With agency inputs)

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