Pharma cos committed to 'science first' policy despite urgency: Industry body

Updated: 22 September, 2020 10:33 IST | Agencies | Singapore

Since the outbreak, around 170 vaccine candidates have shown promise, with 26 of them entering the human trial stage, according to WHO

Customers eat lunch at tables outside restaurants in Soho, in London on Monday. Pic/AFP
Customers eat lunch at tables outside restaurants in Soho, in London on Monday. Pic/AFP

Pharmaceutical companies are committed to a 'science first' approach in the development of COVID-19 vaccines even as the pressure piles on to end the pandemic, the representative of a Singapore-based industry body has said. Vaccine development is a complex process, traditionally it takes as long as 20 years, said Ashish Pal, vice-president of the Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (SAPI).

"You have a pre-discovery phase that can last two to four years. Pre-clinical and clinical trials can take anything between five and 15 years and that does not include regulatory approvals and manufacturing," Channel News Asia reported on Monday quoting Pal.

Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Novavax, Sanofi and BioNTech, in a joint statement, has said they would 'uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work towards potential global regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines.' A vaccine has long been awaited to immunise the world against the Coronavirus that has claimed over 9,00,000 lives globally so far.

Singapore develops robot for swab tests

Singapore has developed a robot that carries out nasal swabbing to diagnose COVID-19, in a bid to reduce healthcare workers' risk of exposure to the deadly Coronavirus. The robot helps address the limitations of manual COVID-19 swab tests by reducing the need for trained manpower, standardising the consistency of the swabs taken and 'providing greater throughput' of swab tests as the robot does not suffer from fatigue, the three groups said in a statement. The SwabBot is a 'self-administered' robot, meaning patients can activate and terminate the process at will. When a patient is ready, they can use their chin to activate the robot and start the swabbing process.

Czech min resigns as cases surge

Czech Republic's health minister resigned amid a record rise of Coronavirus infections. Adam Vojtech says his move should create space for a new approach to the pandemic. The country coped well with infections in the spring but is facing record surge of new confirmed cases over past week.

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First Published: 22 September, 2020 08:22 IST

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