(Reuters) – The European Union has agreed to buy at least 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, with an option to buy another 100 million.
Drugmakers are racing to combat the pandemic that has killed about 760,000 people and infected nearly 21 million.
There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but AstraZeneca’s shot is widely seen as one of the leading candidates.
The company has been granted protection from future product liability claims related to the vaccine by most of the countries with which it has so far struck supply agreements, a senior executive told Reuters.
Below are the main details of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine hopeful and its supply and production deals.
– The shot, called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is a recombinant viral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University.
– It was licensed to AstraZeneca in April.
– The vaccine candidate uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee common-cold virus that encodes instructions for making proteins from the novel coronavirus to build immunity.
– The shot is likely to provide protection for about a year, and the company is leaning towards a two-dose strategy for the potential vaccine.
– AstraZeneca says it will be able to manufacture the vaccine at a few dollars per dose.
– Pricing in Latin America, while still not final, is not expected to exceed $4 per dose, said AstraZeneca’s Mexico head.
– India’s Serum Institute said it will price the shot at $3 per dose for the country and other emerging economies.
– According to Italy’s health ministry, an AZD1222 shot would cost about 2.5 euros ($2.8) per dose in Europe.
– AstraZeneca has said it does not expect to profit from the vaccine candidate during the pandemic.
– Costs in other regions have not been disclosed.
– AstraZeneca’s CEO said good data has come in so far on the shot, after early-stage clinical trials showed it was safe and produced an immune response.
– Late-stage trials are currently underway in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, and are due to start in the United States in the third quarter.
– Talks are ongoing with Mexico, and reports have said the Indian regulator has also given a nod for mid-to-late-stage trials.
– The vaccine could be rolled out by year-end, but there is no certainty of that, its lead developer said in July.
– Data from late-stage studies is expected by August to September.
– Delivery of the first doses is expected between September and October.
– Experts predict a safe and effective vaccine could take 12-18 months to develop.
– Recent supply deals take target doses to 3 billion, AstraZeneca said.
– With U.S. backing, AstraZeneca has tied up with IQVIA to speed up trials. Even before conclusive evidence of the vaccine’s success or failure, AstraZeneca has signed other deals to produce and supply the shot.
AstraZeneca is also in talks with Spain.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar; Editing by Jason Neely, Nick Macfie, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jan Harvey)