Covid-19 vaccine updates: Race for shot to pick up in January, says expert

The global caseload of the coronavirus disease is hurtling towards 50 million, even as research and trials continue across the world to find a vaccine against Covid-19, which has claimed more than 1.2 million lives so far. The world has been waiting for a shot against Covid-19 amidst a wave of fresh cases in Europe and a ban by the UK on travellers from Denmark following an outbreak of a rare mutation of the virus in the Nordic country’s mink farms.

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Here are the latest updates in the worldwide search for a Covid-19 vaccine:

1. Dmitry Kulish, a professor at the Skoltech Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said at a Harvard Club of Russia online discussion that the race for producing a viable vaccine to tackle the coronavirus disease will intensify in January next year. “If we talk about the race [on creating an effective vaccine], the peak of the race will occur at the start of January 2021, when everyone will be comparing serious side effects,” Kulish said while speaking at the online discussion on the topic of vaccine creation.

He explained that since most reports on clinical trials of the vaccines being developed in different countries are slated to come out in January next year, everyone will come to know the side effects of each vaccine and that would intensify the already high stakes race. Kulish’s home country Russia has developed its own vaccine, the Sputnik V, named after the first-ever man-made object to orbit the earth, developed by the erstwhile Soviet Union, Sputnik I.

2. Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said a Hungarian company may be able to switch from flu shot production to production of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in December for final testing and licensing.

3. Argentina has struck a deal with drug maker AstraZeneca Plc to receive around 22 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, with the aim to start deliveries in the first half of next year. Argentina, which is starting to see new cases slow, is hoping to receive some 10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and a smaller number of doses of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine between December-January.

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