In order not to fall behind against the USA and China, four EU countries have signed a contract to supply Europe with medicines for the coronavirus. A vaccine could be available by the end of the year.
Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands have joined together to form a vaccine alliance and are in discussion with several companies that are researching promising vaccines. In order for these drugs to be available in large numbers after a possible approval this year or next year, production capacities would have to be contractually secured, according to the Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin.
“Many countries in the world have already secured vaccines. Europe has not yet,” emphasized Health Minister Jens Spahn. “The coordinated action of a group of member states creates added value for all EU citizens in this crisis. Together with the Brussels Commission, we want to become even faster and more negotiating in the future.”
The first contract with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca deals with up to 400 million doses of a vaccine against the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, which the company is developing together with Oxford University. The first cans could be available by the end of the year, it was said in Berlin government circles. “The agreement ensures that hundreds of millions of Europeans will have access to Oxford University drug if it is approved,” said AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot. Production in Europe would be quickly established.
The EU health ministers had agreed on Friday to merge their activities with those of the EU Commission in order to further increase the clout, the Federal Ministry of Health said. For its part, the EU Commission had announced that it would look more closely at the supply of possible vaccines, as there are fears that it will lag behind the USA and China.
Research work with genetically modified organisms, with which the companies AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson work, was explicitly mentioned. Germany also supports the international vaccine alliance Gavi with 525 million euros, which supports several research projects and wants to make vaccines available worldwide.
Russia wants to produce in autumn
According to the World Health Organization, there are currently more than a hundred projects to develop a corona vaccine worldwide. Russia has now announced that it will start mass-producing a preparation in September.