Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance struck a deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca for the supply of up to 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine currently tested by the University of Oxford.
The alliance was formed by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands to speed up the production of a vaccine.
The agreement with the Anglo-Swedish pharma giant also makes the vaccine available to other European countries that wish to take part in the initiative.
The cost is expected to be offset by funding from the governments.
“This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval,” AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot said. “With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly.”
AstraZeneca recently struck similar agreements with Britain, the US, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Gavi.
An agreement also has been reached with the Serum Institute of India for 1 billion doses.
Testing of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine began with healthy volunteers in Britain in April with over 1,000 people aged 18 to 55. Another round with 10,000 volunteers began last month.
Other companies, including Moderna and Sanofi, are pursuing the creation of a coronavirus vaccine, the only way to effectively guarantee a safe return to a normal life in the post-COVID-19 world.