The British pharmaceutical industry, AstraZeneca, announced on Saturday that it has signed contracts with Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands to provide it with a vaccine against the Corona virus, to begin delivering the drug by the end of 2020.
The contract includes the manufacture of 400 million doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford University, according to the company. The latter said she was looking to manufacture more doses, to donate them to charities during the pandemic.
“With the start of production for distributors in Europe, we hope to make the vaccine available quickly and on a large scale,” Pascal Sariot, CEO of the company said in a statement.
The Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said in a post on his Facebook page, that the vaccine testing phase has already begun, and has reached advanced levels, and is expected to end in the fall, according to Reuters news agency.
The company has signed manufacturing contracts at an international level, to reach its goal of manufacturing two billion doses of the vaccine. AstraZeneca, which manufactures the vaccine, and researchers from the University of Oxford have agreed to provide billion and middle-income countries with billions of doses of the vaccine.
In addition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with which the company entered into a contract worth $ 750 million, AstraZeneca has entered into another contract with the Serum Institute in India, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines in numbers.
Two charitable institutions, the Innovation for Epidemic Readiness Alliance (Sibi) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), have announced that they will help provide facilities for the production and distribution of 300 million doses of vaccine. Delivery is expected to start at the end of the year.
To date, there is no vaccine or treatment for the highly infectious Covid-19 infection caused by the emerging coronavirus.
“Several countries around the world have secured their share of vaccines, and Europe has not yet done so. Coordinating a rapid effort among a number of member states will give added value to all EU citizens in the crisis,” said German Health Minister Jens Young.
The minister said that the European Commission received a mandate from the European Union governments on Friday to negotiate the purchase of promising vaccines for the Corona virus. However, it is unclear whether a sufficient budget to purchase vaccines in advance is currently available.