Ten COVID-19 vaccines seen by mid-year, head of global pharma group says
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Ten COVID-19 vaccines could be available by the middle of next year if they win regulatory approval, but their inventors need patent protection, the head of the global pharmaceutical industry group said on Friday. Vaccines by Pfizer and BioNtech, as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca have shown promising results in large clinical trials, but there is no question of 'cutting corners', said Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). 'So far 3 we have 3 out of 3 were hits.
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - Ten COVID-19 vaccines could be available by the middle of next year if they win regulatory approval, but their inventors need patent protection, the head of the global pharmaceutical industry group said on Friday.
Vaccines by Pfizer and BioNtech, as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca have shown promising results in large clinical trials, but there is no question of "cutting corners", said Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
"So far 3 we have 3 out of 3 were hits. I would expect that we will see something similar with Johnson & Johnson, I would expect that we would see similar positive results with Novavax, and many others, Sanofi Pasteur, GSK are in there, Merck," he said.
'Big Pharma' and biotech firms have invested heavily in research and development and in boosting manufacturing during the pandemic to be able to roll out vaccine doses, Cueni told a Geneva news briefing.
It would be a mistake to lift patent protection to allow compulsory licensing and try to make vaccines requiring such complex quality assurance without expert staff and quality control procedures, he said.
"We will hopefully by the next summer have probably 10 vaccines which have proven their value. But all of them really need to be submitted by rigorous scientific scrutiny by the regulators."
At the World Trade Organization (WTO), India and South Africa have proposed allowing a temporary waiver to allow compulsory licensing for patented products during the pandemic. The United States, European Union and Switzerland and others have rejected it, trade officials say.
Cueni, asked about the proposal, said: "For me this questioning of IP is really primarily politics, but it's politics which is not helpful because it would send very negative signals in terms of disrespect to the system which allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly."
Vaccine manufacturing plants often need 50 quality assurance staff making hundreds of checks during production, he said, emphasising that the companies would not exploit the pandemic.
Cueni said that IFPMA archives showed there had never been a compulsory license granted for a vaccine and pointed to the difficult technology and know-how. Nearly every member company had committed to "not-for-profit" or socially responsible pricing during the pandemic, he added.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Philippa Fletcher)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.