POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

European Commission pre-orders AstraZeneca vaccine



AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine, which is licensed from the University of Oxford, is currently undergoing large-scale clinical studies Shutterstock

AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine, which is licensed from the University of Oxford, is currently undergoing large-scale clinical studies Shutterstock

The European Commission has reached a first agreement with AstraZeneca to purchase a potential vaccine against covid-19.

 

Under the contractual framework, the Commission will purchase 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine once it has proven to be safe and effective against covid-19. It has the option to purchase 100m more on behalf of member states.

In a press release issued on Friday, the Commission cited its president Ursula von der Leyen as saying the agreement was the “first cornerstone in implementing the European Commission's Vaccines Strategy. This strategy will enable us to provide future vaccines to Europeans, as well as our partners elsewhere in the world.”

Financed by the Emergency Support Instrument, which has funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies, the Commission gave no information in relation to the purchase costs.

To secure the deal, the Commission has agreed a down payment to finance part of the upfront costs faced by vaccine producers in the form of advance purchase agreements. It said the agreement is necessary to allow investments to be made in vaccine exploration, which can be costly because of the high cost and high failure rate of vaccines.

Discussions for similar agreements are reportedly underway with other vaccine manufacturers.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is licensed from the University of Oxford, is currently undergoing large-scale clinical studies in the UK and South Africa. Phases 1 and 2 showed the vaccine was tolerated and generated a strong immune response in all evaluated participants, according to findings published in The Lancet journal.

In addition to the EU, AstraZeneca has made deals with a number of countries to sell the vaccine. It hopes to secure 

With world infection numbers pass 20 million, some 42 covid-19 vaccines are being developed around the world, according to the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society. Currently only one, the Sputnik V vaccine, has been approved.