Israel would be in the final stages of negotiations with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneka over the purchase of “millions” of doses of its vaccine whose clinical trials are still ongoing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.
Netanyahu said “the final details will be finalized within hours before an agreement is signed that will determine the acquisition of millions of doses by Israel of the KOVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneka and Oxford University.”
It would be the third Israeli-pandemic vaccine deal signed, after those reached with Pfizer and Moderna. Israel is also negotiating with Russia over the Sputnik V vaccine.
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“My policy is that anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get it,” Netanyahu said, referring to recent denials by the government of its alleged intention to make it mandatory.
“We will continue to work to ensure that there are enough vaccines for all citizens who want them,” he said.
According to Channel 13, the agreement would cover ten million doses that will vaccinate five million people.
Pfizer said Friday that the company had asked U.S. regulators to allow immediate use of the coronavirus vaccine, signaling the start of a process that could lead to a limited number of vaccines as soon as possible. next month.
Modern is also expected to apply for approval for emergency marketing within a few weeks.
AstraZeneca is not that far in the process, but the company said on Thursday that in initial clinical trials, its product appeared to elicit a strong immune response in healthy older people.
The vaccine caused fewer side effects in people aged 56 and older than in younger people – a significant finding, with the number of severe cases of KOVID-19 disproportionately detected in the elderly, the company said in a press release announcing the results of its clinical Phase II trials.
The manufacturer said that the Phase III trials would be longer and more detailed to confirm these initial results.
Immune responses tend to decline in older people, with the immune system gradually slowing down with age. This makes the elderly more vulnerable to infections caused by diseases.
“As a result, it is crucial that KOVID-19 vaccines be tested in this group, which is also a priority group for immunization,” said Andre Pollard, an Oxford professor and author of the study. Lancet.
500 people participated in Phase II and received either two doses of vaccine or two doses of placebo. 240 were over 70 years old.
Immune responses were assessed on the day of vaccination and then several times in the following weeks.
These responses were “similar” in all age groups, the researchers noted.
“Research has shown that the immune response occurs in all age groups, including participants over the age of 70,” said Michael Head, a global health researcher at the University of Southampton who, for his part, was not involved in clinical trials.
“And because older populations will be one of the priority groups for vaccination when the vaccine becomes available, this is good news,” he added.
The product developed by Oxford / AstraZeneka is one of 48 vaccines currently being tested in humans, according to the World Health Organization.