Anyone who closely follows the situation surrounding the pandemic worldwide knows that in large parts of Europe the number of new cases with COVID-19 is increasing again. UK Health Minister, Matt Hancock, voiced his concerns on English radio today and is particularly appealing to young adults, who are known to be less serious at dealing with strict corona measures. He called the rise in the UK worrying, with more new corona cases confirmed last Sunday since the last spike in May of this year.

The country’s health secretary spoke of a 24-hour COVID-free pass. This is considered necessary for people who need to be in close contact due to work. Interestingly, AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) candidate vaccine “AZD1222” was mentioned. The hopes of various governments worldwide seem to be mainly focused on this pharmaceutical. The vaccine from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has now entered the phase three of clinical studies.

AstraZeneca is the hope of Australia

Other uplifting news as Australia today announced that it has entered into a $1.2 billion supply and manufacturing agreement with AstraZeneca, which equates to approximately 84.8 million doses of the vaccine. This means that 26 million Australians will have access to the vaccine. According to the government, this will allow it to gradually offer a free COVID-19 vaccine in Australia by the beginning of 2021. Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, added that the vaccines must be safe, effective and meet all necessary legal requirements before they are made available to the public. Australia appears to be one of the first countries to introduce a vaccine on a large scale. The population is craving a vaccine as the country continues to have strict lockdowns in areas such as Melbourne, Victoria.

Results of the studies in the phase three studies are expected later this year, depending on the degree of infection within the clinical trial communities. the Australian University of Queensland – in collaboration with CSL – are an important link during the researches. The government announced in August that it planned to purchase the AZD1222, along with a letter of intent from CSL to produce it. This plan was held back by uncertainty, as the pharmaceutical company announced shortly afterwards that it would give priority to the production of its own vaccine. Meanwhile, two deals have now been concluded with CSL. The company is expected to deliver around 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January and February 2021, which is undergoing late-stage clinical trials in countries such as the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

Stock developments before the election

Finally, President Donald Trump is considering plans for fast-track approval of the vaccine, in an effort to make AstraZeneca’s vaccine available to Americans ahead of the November election this year. For the United States, the vaccine has also entered phase three studies since last week. Shareholders aiming for the long term have enjoyed a share price increase of 86% over the past six months, which is well above the market decline which is around 8.6 percent. Recent returns have been less impressive, with returns of 17 percent over the past year – including dividends.

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