Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker LIVE Updates: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is in Moscow for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial in Moscow, expressed confidence over the efficacy of Russia's 'Sputnik V' Covid-19 vaccine and said that India and Russia have had a long-running partnership. Meanwhile, the UN children's agency UNICEF said on Thursday that unprecedented quantities of vaccines could be produced by 28 manufacturers in 10 countries over the next two years to tackle the COVID-19pandemic, as it announced it would help lead efforts to procure and distribute them. UNICEF's role is part of a COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan - known as COVAX and co-led by the World Health Organization - that aims to buy and provide equitable access to the shots. So far, 76 wealthy nations committed to joining the COVAX effort.
HERE ARE THE LATEST UPDATES ON THE COVID-19 VACCINE TRACKER:
• French drugmaker Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline said they had started a clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and aimed to reach the final testing stage by December. If the results are conclusive, Sanofi and GSK hope to get the vaccine approved in the first half of next year.
• Merck CEO Sees Human Trials for COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate 'Fairly Soon' | Merck aims to start human trials on one of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates "fairly soon," with a second vaccine candidate likely to begin trials later this year, Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier said on Thursday. Merck this year bought Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience to gain its vaccine project that relies on a measles vector, and is also collaborating with research nonprofit IAVI on a second vaccine hopeful that uses the same technology as Merck’s Ebola vaccine ERVEBO, news agency Reuters reported.
• China Offers Coronavirus Vaccine Candidates to Aviation Industry Workers: Notice | China has offered experimental coronavirus vaccines to aviation industry workers, according to a regulatory notice seen by Reuters, in a push to inoculate high-risk groups to prevent a possible resurgence as economies reopen. China, which has four COVID-19 vaccines in the final stage of human trials, launched the emergency use vaccine programme in July, hoping to boost the immunity of groups such as border inspectors or medical industry workers. Frontline workers at Chinese airlines, airports, China National Aviation Fuel Group and TravelSky Technology Limited will be provided a candidate vaccine on a voluntary basis, the notice from China's aviation regulator shows.
• US public health officials and Pfizer Inc said a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for distribution as soon as late October, just ahead of the November election in which the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a major factor among voters deciding whether President Donald Trump wins a second term. Even though the stakes are high for Republican Trump, who is squaring off against former Vice President Joe Biden on November 3, there is no political pressure on the US Food and Drug Administration to quickly approve a vaccine, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday.
• Meanwhile, seventy-six wealthy nations are now committed to joining a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to help buy and fairly distribute the shots, the project's co-lead said on Wednesday. Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccines alliance, said the coordinated plan, known as COVAX, now has Japan, Germany, Norway and more than 70 other nations signed up, agreeing in principle to procure COVID-19 vaccines through the facility for their populations. "We have, as of right now, 76 upper middle income and high-income countries that have submitted confirmations of intent to participate - and we expect that number to go up," Berkley told Reuters in an interview.