AstraZeneca, Oxford University to Accelerate Covid-19 Vaccine
AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) is stepping into the vaccine race, having announced Thursday that it has teamed up with the University of Oxford to develop, manufacture, and sell the drug worldwide, if proven effective.
In response to the news, the stock in AZN jumped 2% Thursday, to $52.22 apiece, in New York.
Oxford Vaccine Group and the Jenner Institute just began Phase 1 clinical trials last week to test the potential vaccine for preventing Covid-19 infection. The study is taking place across five centers in England, according to the statement.
The chief executive of British-Swedish AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, said the plan is to fast-track the vaccine to be approved as early as in the fourth quarter of 2020 and start limited use by the year-end.
"Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation," Soriot said in a statement.
Earlier this month, AstraZeneca teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the University of Cambridge to set up a lab for Covid-19 testing needs "to explore the use of alternative chemical reagents for test kits in order to help overcome current supply shortages."
Worlwide, more than 3.2 million people have been infected with Covid-19. Of those, a third are in the United States. In addition to the United States, the number of infections in Spain, Italy, the U.K., France, Germany, Iran, Russia, and Turkey have exceeded China's cases of 83 944. Fatalities worldwide have reached 227,648.