British gov’t secures 90M doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines

Aug. 14 (UPI) — The British government announced Friday it has a deal for 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines now under development at U.S. company Novavax and a European subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

The “agreement in principal” includes 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine and 30 million doses of a vaccine from U.K. Janssen Pharmaceutica, British business secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement.

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“Today’s agreements will not only benefit people in the U.K. but will ensure fair and equitable access of a vaccine around the world, potentially protecting hundreds of millions of lives,” he said.

The deal agrees to fund a large-scale clinical trial of the Janssen vaccine candidate later this year. Its primary endpoint will be to determine if two doses will provide long-term protection against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In return, the vaccine, if proven effective, will be made available worldwide on a not-for-profit basis.

A stage-three trial for Novavax vaccine will also have government support in exchange for a commitment to test and manufacture in Britain, in collaboration with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. That trial will begin in the third quarter and will include 9,000 adults, Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said.

“Our Phase 3 clinical trial in the U.K. will be a critical component to assess the efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, which in a Phase 1 trial has already demonstrated to be generally well-tolerated and to elicit robust antibody responses,” he said.

With the new agreements, the British government said it has access to six different candidates for its portfolio of potential COVID-19 vaccines and hopes one or more will be safe and effective.

Novavax said last week that a clinical trial of its potential vaccine in Australia has shown favorable immune responses.

A number of potential coronavirus vaccines are now in various stages of development. Click here for our COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

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