Coronavirus: EU to sign deal for up to 160 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

This picture taken on November 18, 2020 shows a syringe and a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to the Moderna biotech company logo. (AFP)

The European Union will sign a contract for up to 160 million doses of US drugmaker Moderna’s experimental coronavirus vaccine, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU Commission, said on Tuesday.

“This contract allows us to buy up to 160 million doses of a vaccine produced by Moderna. According to the results of clinical trials, this vaccine could be highly effective against COVID-19. Once the vaccine is indeed proven as safe and effective, every Member State will receive it at the same time, on a pro-rata basis, at the same conditions,” Leyen said.

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“With Moderna now, this is the sixth contract we have with a pharmaceutical company for our COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. We are working on yet another one. By this, we are setting up one of the most comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine portfolios in the world,” he added.

The deal with Moderna is the sixth secured by the EU Commission with pharmaceutical companies, allowing its 27 member countries to buy more than one billion doses once the shots are ready.

The deal takes the total number of doses secured by the bloc to 1.96 billion for its population of around 450 million.

Last week, Moderna said its experimental vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.

The delivery timeline is unknown. The doses would be enough to vaccinate 80 million people as the vaccine is expected to be administered in two doses.

Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said on Sunday the company would charge governments between $25 and $37 per dose, depending on the amount ordered.

Brussels has already struck deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac.

It is also in talks to buy US firm Novavax's potential COVID-19 vaccine.

- With AP and Reuters

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Last Update: Tuesday, 24 November 2020 KSA 22:16 - GMT 19:16
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