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European Commission signs second COVID-19 vaccine contract

Brussels: The European Commission on Friday concluded its second contract with a pharmaceutical company for a possible vaccine against COVID-19. The Commission said in a statement.

The contract signed with France’s Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) of Britain will allow all European Union (EU) member states to purchase up to 300 million doses of the Sanofi-GSK vaccine. Moreover, member states may donate reserved doses to lower and middle-income countries.

Sanofi and GSK will also endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through a collaboration with the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility for lower- and middle-income countries, said the statement.

Back in August, the Commission had already signed a contract with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for COVID-19 vaccines. It continues to discuss similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, Moderna and BioNTech.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that agreements with other companies will be concluded soon to contribute to a diversified portfolio of promising vaccines, based on various types of technologies.

European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said this second agreement is yet another milestone in the EU’s vaccine strategy, which is expanding possibilities to ensure that EU citizens and people around the world can gradually resume their daily life.

The Commission said Sanofi and GSK are developing a so-called recombinant vaccine for COVID-19 using innovative technology. The companies aim to have the vaccine available by the second half of 2021.

As of September 17, there were 182 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 36 of them were in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization. Several vaccines from the US, Britain, China, and Germany are in phase-3 trials.

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