The EU population of around 447 million requires the anti-virus vaccine, and the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca is ready to supply to the EU of 300 million doses of a possible coronavirus vaccine, the German government confirmed on Saturday.
The agreement signed between four EU countries (Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands) and pharma group AstraZeneca will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval.
As German Minister of Health Jens Spahn said, the swift and coordinated action of EU and AstraZeneca would see all EU citizens stand to benefit.
“With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly,” Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.
Oxford University began initial trials with hundreds of volunteers in April and is now expanding them to 10,000 participants. The development of a vaccine could be successfully completed by the end of the year, German government sources told AFP.
The doses announced Saturday, potentially rising to 400 million, “must be distributed to all member states that want to participate, depending on the size of their population,” the German ministry said.
“In order for the vaccines to be available in large numbers very quickly after their possible approval this year or next year, production capacities must be guaranteed by contract now,” the minister added.
The European Commission defended the idea on Friday that EU countries should join up to guarantee privileged access to a future vaccine, arguing strongly for the establishment of advance purchase contracts.
With the laboratories trying to find a vaccine in record time — 12 to 18 months instead of several years in normal times – these advance payments allow them to invest in production, even though the clinical trials on humans have not yet been finalised.
This commitment would give member states the right to buy doses at a certain price once the vaccine is available, in return for the risk taken in terms of investments.
AstraZeneca is ready to supply EU with anti-virus vaccine
The pharma company was formed in 1999 from the merger of the Swedish company Astra and British company Zeneca. According to the German Ministry of Health, group AstraZeneca is partnering with Britain’s Oxford University, which has pioneered the inoculation.
The firm has been building separate supply chains around the world during the tests, striking other deals earlier this month to double production capacity to more than two billion doses.