Israel Enters Into Negotiations for AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus Vaccine

In recent news, Israel has entered into negotiations with AstraZeneca, a biopharmaceutical company. The country is looking to procure the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate. 

On Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, addressed the current news floating around about the country trying to enter into agreements with various companies to secure the vaccine. He confirmed that Israel is making effort to strike deals with different companies. However, he did not name which ones. 

As of now, AstraZeneca is trying to conduct Phase III trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, approved by the FDA. It is referred to as AZD1222 vaccine.

In the month of September, the company had hit pause on the trial. This was done as part of the review process because of a safety concern. However, in October, the FDA once again reviewed the candidate. Thus, permission was given to move ahead with the trials in the US and all over the world. Some other countries include Brazil, Japan, South Africa, and United Kingdom. 

The company put up a description of its coronavirus vaccine candidate on its website. According to them, it has been co-invented by a spin-out company that belongs to Oxford. It goes by the name of Vaccitech. 

Where the candidate is concerned, AstraZeneca reports that it makes use of a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector, which has been derived from a weakened version of another virus. However, the other virus is a common cold one referred to as adenovirus. It is responsible for causing infections in chimpanzees and consists of genetic material belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. 

The candidate works by producing the surface spike protein once it is administered. The immune system is also primed to defend itself against the SARS-CoV-2 virus should it infect the body again. 

Just past Friday, Israel had signed a contract with Pfizer to receive nearly eight million doses of their vaccine candidate. They believe that this particular number of doses will be enough for the four million citizens of the country. The contractual agreement was formed soon after the pharmaceutical company announced that their vaccine candidate had shown an efficacy of 90%. They had carried out an interim analysis of their Phase III trials and yielded these results. 

The country previously had entered into contractual agreements with Arcturus and Moderna Inc. in order to procure a couple million doses of all of their coronavirus vaccine candidates. 

According to Moderna, they will release their first interim analysis of the data before the end of the month. Currently, their vaccine candidate is in its late-stage trials, and all of its previous ones have been successful so far. 

The Prime Minister just last week had explained the method being followed by the country to secure multiple vaccine candidates. He stated that all they were doing was buying as many options as they could get their hands on from as many companies as possible. He went on to say that if the vaccines are unsuccessful, the cost incurred will provide Israel the satisfaction of knowing that they at least made an effort to diminish the virus.