Economy

Italy, Germany, France and Netherlands sign contract with Astrazeneca for COVID vaccine

Italy, Germany, France and Netherlands sign contract with Astrazeneca for COVID vaccine”

Four EU countries struck a deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is now being tested by the University of Oxford.

The Netherlands, Italy and Germany will play a big role in manufacturing the drug in Europe, he said.

Other companies, including Moderna and Sanofi, are racing to develop and produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus, a step experts say will be crucial to allowing countries to ease their lockdowns and restrictions on public life.

The French ministers of economy and health signed the agreement with their counterparts from Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which is now developing and testing the vaccine in trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

However, according to the Guardian, AstraZeneca's CEO, Pascal Soriot, could not guarantee the vaccine would work and said several would be required, though he expressed confidence.

Professor Stephen Evans of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said of the vaccine, "The most important finding to me is the combination of considerable efficacy in terms of viral load and subsequent pneumonia, but no evidence of immune-enhanced disease".

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"We are proud to provide our CDMO services to advance AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate".

It was announced on Saturday by Germany's Health Ministry, which commented saying that "rapid, coordinate action of a group of [EU] member states creates added value for everyone in this crisis".

Oxford University began initial trials with hundreds of volunteers in April and is now expanding them to 10,000 participants.

In a Facebook post Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote that the trial is "already advanced" and expected to end in Autumn. Moderna's second-stage clinical trial kicked off last month, and the company has previously said that it could potentially begin offering experimental doses available to healthcare workers in limited capacities as early as this fall. "Rapid coordinated action by a group of member states will create added value for all European Union citizens in this crisis".

The European Commission received a mandate from EU governments on Friday to negotiate advance purchases of promising coronavirus vaccines, the EU's top health official said, however it was unclear whether there would be enough money readily available for them. It plans to produce an additional 1 billion doses under a deal with the Serum Institute of India.



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