AZ secures two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Champc)
(Image: Getty/Champc)

Related tags Astrazeneca CEPI Gavi Serum Institute of India Coronavirus COVID-19

AstraZeneca partners with three organization to boost manufacturing capacity to two billion doses.

The consensus aim for most companies working on leading vaccine efforts against COVID-19 has been one billion doses, with Moderna​, Johnson & Johnson​, and Novavax​ all arranging manufacturing capacity towards this figure.

AstraZeneca’s announcement yesterday went one step further, as it secured the capacity to manufacture two billion doses of its vaccine candidate, AZD1222, by 2021.

The company managed this by partnering with three organizations: the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The first two organizations have agreed a $750m (€661m) deal to manufacture and distribute 300 million doses, with CEPI estimating that all vaccines will be available by July 2021.

CEPI will provide up to $383m to support production, while Gavi noted that it would fund procurement through a ‘volume guarantee’, which was set at 300 million doses.

In addition, the SII sealed a licensing agreement with AZ for the supply of one billon doses for low-and-middle-income countries, with SII able to provide 400 million doses by the end of 2020.

Global access during pandemic

According to the partners, the steps to secure two billion doses of the potential vaccine have been made to enable global access to the vaccine. Previously, AZ confirmed that the UK and the US had procurement agreements in place for the vaccine candidate, with the UK having priority for the first shipment.

CEPI and Gavi will work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator to ensure ‘fair allocation and distribution’ globally.

Echoing a similar agreement by Novartis​, Pascal Soriot, CEO of AZ, said, “We are working tirelessly to honor our commitment to ensure broad and equitable access to Oxford’s vaccine across the globe and at no profit.”

The company clarified that during the pandemic it would not seek to make any profit.

The vaccine itself is currently going through a Phase II/III clinical trial in 10,000 people across the UK. Should the results be positive, the first doses are expected to be available in early 2021.

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