European Commission agrees COVID vaccine deal with AstraZeneca

The European Commission says it has concluded exploratory talks with CureVac to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19.

This is following the positive steps with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July and Johnson and Johnson on 13 August and the signature of an Advance Purchase Agreement with AstraZeneca on 14 August.

The envisaged contract with CureVac would provide for the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine, as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or re-direct to European countries. It is anticipated that the Commission will have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 225 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19.

The Commission says it “pursues intensive discussions” with other vaccine manufacturers.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “The European Commission delivers on its promise to secure rapid access for Europeans and the world to a safe vaccine that protects us against the coronavirus. Each round of talks that we conclude with the pharmaceutical industry brings us closer to beating this virus. We will soon have an agreement with CureVac, the innovative European firm that received earlier EU funding to produce a vaccine in Europe. And our negotiations continue with other companies to find the technology that would protect us all“.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today we concluded talks with the European company CureVac to increase the chances of finding an effective coronavirus vaccine. We continue to work shoulder to shoulder with Member States and with vaccine developers to fulfil the aims of our European Vaccines Strategy - a vaccine for all.”

CureVac is a European company pioneering the development of a completely new class of vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA), transported into cells by lipid nanoparticles. The vaccine platform has been developed over the last decade. The basic principle is the use of this molecule as a data carrier for information, with the help of which the body itself can produce its own active substances to combat various diseases.

The exploratory talks concluded today are intended to result in an Advance Purchase Agreement to be financed with funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies.

On 6 July, the European Investment Bank and CureVac signed a €75 million loan deal for the development and large-scale production of vaccines, including CureVac's vaccine candidate against COVID-19.

Today's conclusion of the exploratory talks with CureVac is an important step towards the conclusion of an Advance Purchase Agreement, and therefore towards the implementation of the vaccines strategy adopted by the Commission on 17 June 2020. This Strategy aims to secure high-quality, safe, effective and affordable vaccines for all European citizens within 12 to 18 months. To do so, and together with the Member States, the Commission is agreeing Advance Purchase Agreements with vaccine producers reserving or giving the Member States the right to buy a given number of vaccine doses for a certain price, as and when a vaccine becomes available.

The European Commission is also committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. No one will be safe until everyone is safe.

It has raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the global action for universal access to tests, treatments, and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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