Sanofi retracts US-first stance on COVID-19 vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Daniel Chetroni)
(Image: Getty/Daniel Chetroni)

Related tags Sanofi France US government Coronavirus COVID-19

The French company bows to pressure from the French government to state that there will be no preferential supply to US of potential vaccine.

The row stemmed from a Bloomberg interview last week, wherein the CEO of Sanofi, Paul Hudson, had suggested that the US had the right to receive a larger pre-order, as a result of the money it had invested to aid the manufacture of a potential vaccine.

The investment came through the long-running partnership that Sanofi holds with the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA), with the two partnering initially on a SARS vaccine before then beginning work on a vaccine for COVID-19 in February – providing additional funds at the same time.

After the interview was made public, France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, issued a comment via Twitter​ that equal access to a potential vaccine was ‘not negotiable’. Further, he noted that he had spoken to Serge Weinberg, Sanofi’s chairman, who provided assurances over the availability of the vaccine in France.

With the issue becoming one of national discussion in France, Weinberg made an appearance on France 2 TV and confirmed that there would be no advance of an effective vaccine for any country.

According to reports, Emmanuel Macron, president of France, will speak with Hudson on the issue tomorrow.

Subsequent to receiving BARDA support, Sanofi teamed up with GSK​ with the goal of producing an adjuvanted vaccine.

The issue of access on a country-by-country basis is becoming an increasingly fraught one, with this being the second time that news has reached the public in Europe that the US government is seeking to pay for priority to any potential vaccine.

In March​, reports emerged suggests that the US had approached the German company, CureVac, abut potentially acquiring the exclusive rights to any vaccine for COVID-19.

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