AstraZeneca Launches Final-Phase Tests Of COVID Drug In The U.S.

AstraZeneca has started an extensive late-phase human clinical tests of its candidate COVID-19 drug in the United States, the biotech announced last Monday, as it seeks to gather at least 30,000 participants to determine the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

Developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, trial subjects will be administered either two shots of the potential treatment, referred to as AZD1222, or a saline placebo over a four-week interval, AstraZeneca said.An advanced-stage trial of the candidate drug is also being carried out in Britain, on top of the U.S. tests, which is expected to produce results as early as October.

The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical giant announced in July that early-to-mid-phase research indicated the treatment was “well-tolerated” by the test subjects and produced strong immune reactions against SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19.

So far, shares of the $146 billion company have rallied almost 13 percent this year. In London, the company’s share price settled at 8,340, down 0.91 percent as of August 28.

The company has raised a sizeable amount of investments for its experimental drug and is looking to provide over two billion doses worldwide. Meanwhile, other pharmaceutical giants that are developing their own candidate COVID-19 drugs in final-stage tests include Pfizer and Moderna Inc.AstraZeneca’s U.S. trials are being conducted under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, whose objective is to fast-track the development, production, marketing, and distribution of treatments for the highly contagious disease, globally.An advance-phase clinical test for AZD1222 has been ongoing in South Africa, Brazil, and the UK, with further research being proposed in Russia and Japan. AstraZeneca plans to enroll at least 50,000 subjects for its experimental drug worldwide.Executives at AstraZeneca said they don’t plan to gain any profit from their COVID-19 vaccine and are willing to make the treatment accessible to those who badly need it. The biotech group has made specific arrangements with its inter-national partners to guarantee manufacturing lines and the efficient distribution of the medication.