Europe signs second contract for a potential coronavirus vaccine
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Europe signs second contract for a potential coronavirus vaccine

Credit: Belga

The European Commission has signed a second contract for a potential coronavirus vaccine, it announced on Friday.

The contract reserves up to 300 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GSK.

In addition, “Member States may donate reserved doses to lower- and middle-income countries,” the Commission said in a press release, and the two companies will “endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through a collaboration with the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility (…) in a timely manner.”

“With today’s contract with Sanofi-GSK, the European Commission shows once again its commitment to ensuring equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines not only for its citizens but also for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

This echoes what she said in her first State of the Union speech, when she asserted that “vaccine nationalism puts lives at risk. Vaccine cooperation saves them.”

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“With several countries in Europe experiencing new outbreaks after the summer period, a safe and effective vaccine is more instrumental than ever to overcome this pandemic and its devastating effects on our economies and societies,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

“This second agreement is yet another milestone in our EU Vaccine Strategy,” Kyriakides said. “Today we are expanding our possibilities to ensure that EU citizens and citizens around the world can gradually resume daily life and feel safe again.”

GSK and Sanofi “started a Phase 1 / 2 study in September,” the Commission said, with a phase 3 study due by the end of the year. “If successful, and subject to regulatory considerations, the companies aim to have the vaccine available by the second half of 2021.”

The Commission already has a contract with AstraZeneca for its vaccine, and is in discussion with other vaccine manufacturers “with which it has concluded exploratory talks.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times