Coronavirus vaccine boost as Brit firm AstraZeneca books orders for first 400m doses after getting $1BILLION from US – The Sun

DRUG maker AstraZeneca has signed a massive $1 billion deal for a coronavirus vaccine from the U.S government.

The Anglo-Swedish firm will supply 400 million doses of the Covid-19 drug currently being developed by the University of Oxford.

The drug is still undergoing trials at the university’s Jenner Institute, which is working with the Oxford Vaccine Group on the project.

The order from US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority comes after demands for a from Donald Trump for a coronavirus vaccine as part of program dubbed ‘Operation Warp Speed’.

"This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021," U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said.

The President announced the program on May 16 and revealed it will be led by Dr Moncef Slaoui, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star Army General.

AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said U.S investment will accelerate the development and production of the vaccine.

Major milestone

“We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale,” he said.

"We would like to thank the US and UK governments for their substantial support to accelerate the development and production of the vaccine.

"We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available."

Pharmaceutical companies including also Moderna and Sanofi are racing to develop and produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

Experts say it will be crucial to allowing countries to ease their lockdowns and restrictions on public life.

AstraZeneca said it has now secured manufacturing capacity for 1 billion doses of the drug, known as AZD1222.
It aims to secure further agreements to expand capacity further over the next months to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine.

The United Kingdom has already secured 100 million of the AstraZeneca doses, with 30 million as soon as September, also after pledging funding.

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