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UK secures early access to 90 million doses of coronavirus vaccines

Published on 20/07/20 at 10:30am
Photo by Rennett Stowe

The UK has secured early access to 90 million doses of coronavirus vaccines through multiple partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.

The first deal is for 30 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine candidate. There vaccine program is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and supported by Pfizer’s global vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities. They are still going through clinical trials and the vaccines are not yet approved for distribution in any country. There are currently four different vaccines candidates under review as part of this program.

Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said: “I would like to thank the U.K. Government for their support and putting trust in us. This agreement is part of our commitment to address the pandemic by creating a global supply. We are in advanced discussions with multiple other government bodies and hope to announce additional supply agreements soon. Our goal remains to bring a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to many people around the world, as quickly as we can.”

The second deal is for 60 million doses of another vaccine being developed by Valneva, with an option for a further 40 million doses if their candidate is proven to be safe and effective. They have a factory in Livingston, Scotland, and additional funding is expected to be negotiated with the government to expand it to facilitate the production of 100 million overall doses.

The third deal is with AstraZenenca and this could provide an additional one million vaccine doses, with this specific treatment using neutralising antibodies which could be used to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as the immunocompromised. Phase 3 clinical trial results for the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to be released on Wednesday.

Alok Sharma, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Finding a vaccine is one way that we will end the pandemic and return to normal life. That is why we are making sure people most at risk in the U.K. are vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as a safe vaccine becomes available, by partnering with the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies.”

Conor Kavanagh

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