After months of no significant advances when it comes to the battle against COVID-19, several biotech firms have made some thrilling announcements earlier this week. The first comes from Sorrento Therapeutics, which claims to have developed an antibody treatment that leads to a 100-percent inhibition of the virus. The second followed a day after when Moderna submitted its findings which show eight out of 45 participants of its coronavirus vaccine trials developed promising results. Now, another just surfaced wherein a pharmaceutical firm released details about mass-producing vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.

A statement from the company reveals that AstraZeneca has apparently been contracted to fulfil orders of close to 400 million doses of a yet-to-be-approved vaccine for COVID-19. The manufacturer projects that its facilities should be able to handle the production and shipment within the year. In fact, the company's resources should be enough for up to a billion doses. The first batch of deliveries is estimated to arrive around September 2020.

Sources likewise noted that AstraZeneca is backed by the U.S.-based Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Moreover, the funding purportedly amounts to a little over $1 billion. The vaccine, which is labelled as AZD1222, was developed by a team of experts from Oxford University. Pascal Soriot, the pharmaceutical group's CEO stated: This pandemic is a global tragedy and it is a challenge for all of humanity."

He then added: "We need to defeat the virus together or it will continue to inflict huge personal suffering and leave long-lasting economic and social scars in every country around the world." Soriot also pointed out that the company is "proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their groundbreaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale."

Brazil's hospitals operating close to capacity
The intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients at the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in the Manaus, in Brazil's Amazon region, has been operating close to capacity. Photo: AFP / MICHAEL DANTAS

While preliminary results are already a good indicator of its effectiveness against COVID-19, further testing must be done in order for regulators to approve its distribution. Therefore, even the ones that were recently publicised are still required to conduct additional trial phases to prove its safety for human usage. Nevertheless, if proven to be a success, approximately 30 million doses of AZD1222 should be ready by September.