LONDON, April 30  — The UK-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca reported on Friday that its net profit doubled in the first quarter of 2021, with the COVID-19 vaccine developed with University of Oxford contributing US$275 million to the US$7.32 billion revenue growth during the period.

According to the earnings statement, the company’s net profit reached US$1.56 billion between January and March, compared to US$780 million last year, according to Sputnik.

“We delivered solid progress in the first quarter of 2021 and continued to advance our portfolio of life-changing medicines,” Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s executive director and chief executive officer, was quoted as saying.

Soriot said that the sales of new cancer drugs contributed over half of the 15 per cent “robust” revenue growth delivered during the period.

The pharmaceutical company also said it had delivered over 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries through COVAX, the multilateral facility led by the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organisation and other organisations to help low- and middle-income counties to have access to the jabs.

The earnings statement comes as the company is facing troubles with its flagship coronavirus vaccine due to the blood-clotting side effects, including fatal cases, which have prompted several countries to suspend its use or restrict the shot to elderly people mostly those over 60s.

However, both the United Kingdom and the European Union medicines regulators have recommended to continue using the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, saying that the blood clots associated to the vaccine are rare and that the benefits outweigh the risks.


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