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AZ inks deal with EU for 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Doses will be available to all EU member states at no profit during pandemic

AstraZeneca (AZ) has finally concluded an agreement with the European Commission (EC) to provide 400 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222.

The new deal builds upon existing agreements made with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccine Alliance spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The finalised deal with the EC allows all EU member states the option to equally access the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic.

The agreement also allows EU member states to donate to lower- and middle-income countries or re-direct doses to other European countries.

The deal will be financed with the EC’s ‘Emergency Support Instrument’, which has funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines produced by different companies.

The EC added that while regulatory processes for potential coronavirus vaccines will be flexible, they will still remain robust. It will use existing flexibilities in the EU’s regulatory framework to expedite the authorisation and availability of successful vaccines for COVID-19.

“This first vaccine agreement with the European Commission will ensure that millions of Europeans have access to the AZD1222 vaccine following its approval,” said Pascal Soriot, AZ's chief executive officer.

“With production in our European supply chain soon to be started, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly, with the first doses to be delivered by the end of 2020,” he added.

In a phase 1/2 study, AZ’s vaccine produced encouraging results, demonstrating an ability to induce robust immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

The immune response produced by AZD1222, which is being jointly developed with Oxford University, included a four-fold increase in antibodies against the novel coronavirus spike protein in 95% of subject, one month after injection.

The levels of neutralising antibodies seen in study participants came within a similar range to the levels seen in recovered COVID-19 patients, with 91% of participants demonstrating neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2 one month after vaccination, and in 100% of participants who received a second dose.

AZ has signed similar early access deals with both the UK and US, as governments across the world ramp up efforts to procure doses of the most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates currently in the development.

The EC has also been in discussions with other COVID-19 vaccine developers, including Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

17th August 2020

From: Sales

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