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AstraZeneca to pull plug on US plans as health chiefs quiz efficacy of Covid vaccine


The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant has been waiting to submit the approval of its vaccine for months, engaging in talks throughout the process.

Last April, the AstraZeneca chief said the drugmaker planned to file within a matter of weeks.

But the firm still appears to be stuck in a hold-up as US officials remain unwilling to budge on their position. 

 

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has not been shy to voice its frustration with the way AstraZeneca presents its data on the efficacy of its vaccine. 

Back in March 2021, the organisation publicly questioned initial data from AstraZeneca’s vaccine trails just hours after it was released. 

And after talk of AstraZeneca’s vaccine joining the market being thrown around for months in the US, the interest has now reportedly dropped off.

A US senior official told the Financial Times: “That product has fallen off my radar.”

 

Instead, the US has relied on vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, both from the US. 

Together, the drugmakers have produced enough vaccines to provide each US adult with three doses.

The companies also have millions of spare doses which have been sent to countries in the developing world.

But AstraZeneca has tried to play a role in helping other countries fight against COVID-19.

The company committed to delivering up to 3 billion doses of its vaccines, which it produced in partnership with Oxford University, across the globe by the end of 2021.

But as well as the US, problems with supplying its vaccine to the EU also proved to be an issue.

In late January 2021, the EU was poised to approve AstraZeneca, many months after it had become available in the UK. 

But Germany said the jab should not be given to over 65s, while France dubbed it “quasi-ineffective” in the elderly. 

 

Sir John Bell told the BBC: “I don’t think it made relations with Europe any easier that it was promoted as the British vaccine.”

But Britain has still managed to export millions of doses of the vaccines to countries around the world, despite the difficulties. 

Back in October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will donate at least 20 million more Oxford-AstraZeneca doses. 

But Sir Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s head of research and development, said the drugmaker doesn’t “need to push it in places we are not needed or wanted”, the Financial Times reports. 

 This is a breaking story. More to follow. 





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