European Commission prepares to sign fifth coronavirus vaccine contract

European Commission prepares to sign fifth coronavirus vaccine contract
Credit: Belga

The European Commission will authorise a new contract for the future supply of a covid-19 vaccine, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

This contract, with German company CureVac, will be the Commission's fifth advance purchase contract with a pharmaceutical company.

The contract will cover the possible supply of up to 405 million doses, von der Leyen announced.

Since the Commission presented its strategy of centralised negotiations on behalf of the Member States, it has aimed to build up a portfolio of different vaccines. The Commission has already signed advance purchase agreements already concluded with Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Belgium's Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), and Sanofi-GSK.

They are all still at the trial stage, and none of them are currently authorised on the European market.

This will only happen if a vaccine successfully completes the whole testing process and is deemed sufficiently effective and safe to be authorised for marketing in the EU.

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This will ultimately require a green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, its evaluation and authorisation procedure are being sped up through a "rolling review", meaning that information from the trials is passed on throughout the procedure rather than in a single dossier at the end of the process.

The Commission is also in advanced discussions with the American company Moderna, who earlier today announced that its vaccine was 94.5% effective.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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