COVID-19: EU to contract with another vaccine producer

A few days after the European Commission contracted with BioNTech and Pfizer, it is to authorise on Tuesday a new contract to secure another COVID-19 vaccine for Europeans, EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Monday. This contract is to allow the EU executive to buy up to 405 million doses of a vaccine produced by the German company CureVac.
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Von der Leyen reminded that earlier this year, the Commission had provided funding to CureVac, together with the European Investment Bank, in a bid to support the development of this vaccine.

And now, progress is tangible. If the vaccine has proven safe and effective against COVID-19, every Member State will receive the vaccine at the same time, on a pro-rata basis, and under the same conditions.

This is the fifth contract with a pharmaceutical company for the EU's COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, and

the Commission is working on a sixth one, with Moderna.

"We have already concluded exploratory talks with Moderna. We hope to finalise the contract soon," added von der Leyen .

US biotech firm Moderna has announced impressive results, an efficacy of 94.5%, for its mRNA vaccine on Monday, a week after interim results for a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed 90% effectivenes. The company said it "remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

Moderna said it had improved the shelf life and stability, meaning its vaccine can be stored for six months at -20C for shipping and long-term storage, and at standard refrigeration temperatures of 2C to 8C for 30 days.

She said that at this stage it is unclear which vaccines will end up being safe and effective, and that the European Medicines Agency EMA will authorise them "only after a robust assessment."

"This is why we need to have a broad portfolio of vaccines based on very different technologies. In parallel, we are working with COVAX to provide access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. Thus, we want to ensure that all have access rapidly to safe and effective vaccines," she added.

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