Coronavirus vaccine: Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance strikes giant agreement with AstraZeneca

Marco Green
June 15, 2020

The vaccine is expected to be finished by the end of 2020.

The vaccine from AstraZeneca, developed with the University of Oxford, is one of a handful of vaccines now in the clinical evaluation phase, the World Health Organization said.

Four EU countries struck a deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is now being tested by the University of Oxford.

The deal is the latest in a series of agreements to produce the vaccine - even though it is not certain it will work to prevent coronavirus infections.

AstraZeneca recently struck similar agreements with Britain, the US, Norway-headquartered Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the global vaccine alliance Gavi.

A scientist prepares samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at a laboratory of BIOCAD biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 11, 2020.

Of those, 143 volunteers are in phase I and 600 volunteers are in phase II, the Beijing-based company said in a statement.

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, commented: "With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly".

The European Commission on Friday spoke out in favor of advance purchase contracts, after the EU governing body received a mandate from EU governments to make such purchases itself.

The deal will add a further 100 million doses to the 2 billion already committed by the group, an AstroZeneca spokesman said.

There are no approved vaccines or treatments for Covid-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Italy's health minister Robert Speranza also commented on the deal on Facebook, writing that as many as "400 million doses of the vaccine" would be available "for the entire population of Europe".

As German Minister of Health Jens Spahn said, the swift and coordinated action of European Union and AstraZeneca would see all European Union citizens stand to benefit.

It has agreed manufacturing deals globally to meet its target of producing 2 billion doses of the vaccine, including with two ventures backed by Bill Gates and a $1.2 billion agreement with the U.S. government.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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