The European Union has agreed to buy a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus from Sanofi and GSK. This is the EU’s second supply deal, as the deadline to join the World Health Organization’s vaccine procurement program approaches. As part of the deal, French and UK pharmaceutical companies, which have joined forces to build a vaccine based on a recombinant protein that they hope will be approved next year, will provide the EU with up to 30 million doses.
Today’s deal confirms an announcement made on July 31 by the two companies and follows an earlier deal between the EU and AstraZeneca for up to 400 million vaccines.In exchange for the right to installment payments, the European Commission will finance in advance part of the costs borne by vaccine manufacturers. The vaccine doses themselves will be purchased from EU member states.
The deal comes to the deadline for WHO members to join the COVAX program, which aims to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and ensure vaccines are distributed fairly and efficiently.To date, 92 low-income countries are seeking help through COVAX, a member of the WHO ACT accelerator to support the development of vaccines, therapies and diagnostics to fight the pandemic.
There is currently no internationally approved vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 946,000 people and derailed the global economy. For Sanofi and GSK, the deal follows a $ 2.1 billion deal with the United States in July for $ 100 million, with the option for Washington to purchase an additional $ 500 million and a deal with Great Britain for 60 million doses. Sanofi and GSK began clinical trials of their vaccine this month and plan to reach final testing by December.
The candidate vaccines use the same recombinant protein technology as the Sanofi seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be associated with an adjuvant manufactured by GSK. The two companies are ramping up production to be ready to produce up to a billion doses per year. Sanofi is also working on another possible COVID-19 vaccine with US company Translate Bio using a technology called mRNA.