Coronavirus: CureVac deal takes EU’s COVID-19 vaccine supplies close to 2 billion

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The European Union has struck a deal for up 405 million doses of German biotech firm CureVac’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, the head of the EU executive said on Monday, taking total supplies secured by the bloc to nearly 2 billion doses.

The deal with CureVac follows EU supply agreements with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi , and Pfizer for a combined 1.4 billion dosesof their potential vaccines.

“I am glad to announce a new agreement to buy up to 405 million doses of a vaccine produced by the European company CureVac,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, adding the contract was negotiated after EU funding to the company to develop its vaccine.

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The EU, with a population of about 450 million, has been in talks with CureVac for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine at least since July, an internal EU document seen by Reuters shows, confirming an exclusive Reuters report.

The deal will be authorized by the Commission on Tuesday, von der Leyen said, while the actual signature will take place some days later.

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Under advance purchase agreements negotiated by the EU during the pandemic, the bloc makes a non-refundable down payment to a vaccine maker to secure a certain number of doses for an agreed price, which will then be paid by EU states willing to buy the shot only after it is authorized as safe and effective by the EU drugs regulator.

The price agreed for the vaccine has not been disclosed.

The deal will initially cover 225 million doses, with an option to buy another 180 million.

CureVac was not immediately available for comment.

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The Commission president also said she hoped to finalize a deal soon with Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine, which on Monday announced positive interim results from large-scale clinical trials.

CureVac’s approach is based on so-called messenger RNA (mRNA), pieces of genetic code that prompt human cells to produce therapeutic proteins - the same technology used by Moderna and also Pfizer/BioNTech, the other major potential vaccine to have reported positive late-stage trial results.