- Indonesia, the Philippines have turned to Beijing; Singapore and Japan are partnering with US firms; while Thailand and India developing their own
- Experts say geopolitics factor into a particular nation’s choice, while pointing out the challenges inherent in wide-scale vaccinations
Will the first Covid-19 vaccine be manufactured in China, the United States or Britain? With 160 vaccines under development globally, countries are hammering out deals with pharmaceutical companies and state-owned firms to get first dibs on one, in the hopes it will allow them to fully reopen economies that have taken a battering from trade disruptions, lockdowns and border closures.Singapore, for example, is funding research by American biotech company Arcturus Therapeutics to secure the first doses of any successful vaccine. Arcturus, partnering the island nation’s Duke-NUS Medical School, is now in the early stages of human testing with the goal of producing 30 million doses of a single-shot vaccine, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Ooi Eng Eong, deputy director of Duke-NUS’ emerging infectious diseases program, said the number of doses produced in the first batches would likely exceed the quantity required by Singapore and might be available for distribution to other countries.The likes of US, Britain and Japan have secured potential vaccines from companies such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer, India is among those that have created their own candidates, while other countries such as Singapore have teamed up with smaller pharmaceutical producers.
Here is a look at the front-runners of the vaccine race, the ones Asian nations are eyeing, and the potential challenges of wide-scale vaccination.