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COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by end of 2020: Italy minister

ROME: The first shots of British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by the end of 2020, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday.

“We are talking about a potential vaccine so we need to be extremely prudent, but… if the vaccine is confirmed as safe and able to meet its objective it will be already available by the end of 2020,” Speranza told parliament.

Drugmakers are racing to combat the pandemic, which has killed more than 850,000 people and infected over 25 million.

The European Commission has paid 336 million euros ($397.82 million) to AstraZeneca to secure at least 300 million doses of its potential vaccine for EU nations.

Here is what you should know about AstraZeneca’s AZD1222

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, now known as AZD1222, was developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, working with the Oxford Vaccine Group.

It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold (adenovirus) virus that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack COVID-19 if it later infects the body.

The recombinant adenovirus vector (ChAdOx1) was chosen to generate a strong immune response from a single dose and it is not replicating, so cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual.

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