Recently, the European Commission and AstraZeneca reached an agreement. Once the latter's potential vaccine against COVID-19, AZD1222, is proven to be safe and effective, EC agreed to purchase 300 million doses of vaccine and may choose to represent EU member states based on this contract. Purchase another 100 million doses of vaccine.
EC Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: "After several weeks of negotiations, we have reached the first EU pre-purchase agreement for vaccine candidates. Thanks to AstraZeneca for constructive participation in this important agreement. Safe and effective vaccines are still It is the most reliable strategy to protect the world from coronavirus infection."
This is the latest decision after EC announced on July 31 with Sanofi/GSK, and on August 13 with Johnson & Johnson to end supply negotiations. Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi/GSK are negotiating with the European Union to supply 200 million doses and 300 million doses of vaccines, respectively. Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday that it has concluded tentative negotiations and is entering the contract negotiation stage. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine started Phase 1/2 clinical trials in July and is expected to launch Phase 3 clinical trials in September; Sanofi/GSK is expected to enter Phase 1/2 clinical trials in September at the earliest.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is one of the fastest-growing vaccines. AZD1222 is a recombinant adenovirus vaccine, based on the technology and modification of the non-replicating, recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine ChAdOx1. In the phase 1/2 trial of COV001/2 China, the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine achieved satisfactory results, which increased the antibody to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus by 95% of the subjects by 4 times . In addition, the vaccine induced a T cell response in all subjects, which remained unchanged for two months after vaccination, and a peak response appeared on the 14th day. Currently, the vaccine has entered a large-scale phase 2/3 clinical trial. If successful, delivery may begin at the end of 2020.
The EC, which represents the 27 member states of the European Union, proposed a European strategy on June 17 to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of effective and safe vaccines against COVID-19. In return for the right to purchase a specific number of vaccines within a specific period of time, EC will provide vaccine manufacturers with part of the upfront costs in the form of a pre-purchase agreement, and these funds will be treated as a deposit for the actual vaccine purchased. A senior EU official said that these funds will be part of the down payment to secure loans for vaccine research and development, but the actual purchase costs will be determined by each EU country at a later stage.
In fact, the EC's move may weaken the global vaccine plan led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the possibility of other countries obtaining vaccines. Under the leadership of WHO and the Global Vaccine Alliance GAVI, it is purchasing vaccines on behalf of rich and developing countries under a separate program. EC has publicly stated that its procurement plan is a supplement to WHO, but privately told EU countries that if they join WHO's global plan, there may be legal problems. EU officials told Reuters in July that the EC urges EU countries to avoid the WHO-led initiative, which it believes is too expensive and slow.
According to Reuters, the EU’s bilateral agreement reflects the actions of the United States and other wealthy countries, some of which are critical of the WHO’s initiative and further reduce the stocks that may exist in the competition for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca said in a statement: “This new agreement will enable all EU member states to obtain vaccines in a fair manner during the influenza pandemic, without generating any profit.”
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