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US Orders 300 Million Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine

The U.S. government has ordered 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in development by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and hopes to have the vaccine available as early as October.
“This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a Thursday statement.
“Getting a vaccine to the American public as soon as possible is one part of President Trump’s multi-faceted strategy for safely reopening our country and bringing life back to normal, which is essential to Americans’ physical and mental well-being in so many ways.”
Operation Warp Speed is President Donald Trump’s initiative to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
“The Trump Administration is making multiple major investments in developing and manufacturing promising vaccines long before they’re approved so that a successful vaccine will reach the American people without a day wasted,” Azar said.
AstraZeneca said that it has received over $1 billion from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop the vaccine, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Although just one of many vaccines in production, the Oxford prototype has been one of the quickest to develop with human testing starting in late April.
The vaccine — named AZD1222 — injects the coronavirus’ genetic material into a neutralized cold virus and triggers the immune system to fight it off by mimicking COVID-19.
Preliminary test results might not be available until mid-June and then more extensive tests will bein.
“We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their groundbreaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale,” AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.
AstraZeneca also received $80 million from the British government on Sunday to “make up to up to 30 million doses available by September for people in the U.K,” according to the Times.
The company said it is now working with international organizations such as the World Health Organization “for the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine all around the world.”
“Several more agreements are expected to deliver AstraZeneca’s commitment to ensure global access,” a representative told Fortune in an email.
“These agreements are happening in parallel in order to ensure broad and equitable supply of the vaccine throughout the world at no profit during the pandemic.”
The United States has also provided $30 million to French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson told Bloomberg News.
He later added, “That’s how it will be because they’ve invested to try and protect their population, to restart their economy.”

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