World NZ to join search for Covid-19 vaccine

07:56  26 may  2020
07:56  26 may  2020 Source:   newsroom.co.nz

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David Clark, Megan Woods sitting at a table © Provided by Newsroom

New Zealand will put $37 million towards the global pursuit for a Covid-19 vaccine, including $15 million for domestic research and potential manufacturing, Marc Daalder reports

New Zealand has thrown its hat into the vaccine R&D ring.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark announced the country would put $37 million towards the global quest for a vaccine for Covid-19.

Of this, $10 million will go to domestic research and $5 million has been set aside to spend on manufacturing the vaccine, if such a possibility arises.

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With confirmed COVID - 19 cases worldwide surpassing 4.3 million and continuing to grow, scientists are pushing forward with efforts to develop vaccines and treatments to slow the Searching for effective treatments. Drug development is sometimes described as a pipeline, with compounds moving from

Another $15 million is earmarked for international research efforts, including but not limited to projects funded by the Gates Foundation-backed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. The remaining $7 million in the package will be put towards GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership founded by the Gates Foundation which distributes vaccines to developing countries.

Click here for up-to-date coverage of the COVID-19 crisis on the Microsoft News app — available on Windows 10, iOS and Android

"The Covid-19 vaccine strategy outlines how New Zealand will contribute to global efforts by ramping up our own capability, working with the international community and supporting our Pacific neighbours in the deployment of a vaccine once it becomes available," Peters said.

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The potential new coronavirus vaccine is being developed by Moderna Inc., which is building on previous work on MERS (Middle East respiratory The issue is, while coronaviruses causing infections like MERS and Covid - 19 are “not that different” and have a genome which is “similar” in structure

The first COVID - 19 vaccine to enter clinical trials in the United States, for example, uses a genetic molecule called mRNA as its base. Even if a fairly promising vaccine surfaces by 2021, and can be mass-produced, the search won't end there. "Especially with trying to get something out this quickly

Woods touted New Zealand's "quality researchers and a high performing research, science and innovation sector with a long history of working with colleagues across the globe to tackle complex global problems".

"It's vital that we contribute to international research efforts as well as ramp up our own research and manufacturing capability," she said.

"The development of a safe and effective vaccine is a crucial tool in the control of Covid-19 worldwide and a global effort is well under way to develop and test various vaccine candidates," Clark said.

Officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Health, Medsafe, Pharmac and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be involved in the vaccine task force, alongside independent science and technical advisors.

There are dozens of potential vaccines for the virus currently in production and at least nine are already in human trials. 

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In pictures: COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 20: Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield shows an example of a scan for the just released NZ COVID Tracer app at a COVID-19 press conference at the Beehive Theatrette, Parliament on May 20, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed in stages under Alert Level 2, with restaurants, retail, playgrounds and gyms able to reopen from 14 May 2020 along with the resumption of domestic travel and gatherings of up to 10 people outside. Schools and early childhood educations centres can reopen from 18 May, while bars will be permitted to trade with social distancing measures in place from Thursday 21 May. New Zealand was placed under full lockdown on March 26 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Even with a vaccine, this could be our new normal .
The CSIRO says that even if scientists produce a coronavirus vaccine, many social distancing measures may need to remain.Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 could be here to stay, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed the globe is still very much in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic.

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