AstraZeneca to make Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccineAstraZeneca to make Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) – AstraZeneca will make and distribute globally the University of Oxford’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.

The Cambridge-based company did not give details on when it will start producing the vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which has so far infected over 3 million people and killed more than 215,000.

While there are more than 70 vaccines in development for the coronavirus, industry experts say they expect development of a successful vaccine to take at least 12-18 months, compared with the average vaccine development time of 5-7 years.

“Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation,” Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

The Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group have been working on a vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and said earlier this month large-scale production capacity was being put in place to make millions of doses even before trials show whether it is effective.

The team last week dosed the first volunteers in a trial of the vaccine, with possible early readouts in May.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)