US COVID-19 immunization program to start production by end of summer, US official says

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(Reuters) – Drug manufacturers in partnership with the United States government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine” sticker is held near a medical syringe in front of the words “Coronavirus COVID-19” displayed in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

“If you say exactly when the vaccine material will literally be in production and manufacturing, it’s probably in four to six weeks, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of the summer,” said the official, who said refused to be identified by name, told me.

He added that the administration is already working with companies to equip and equip manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.

So far, the Trump administration has helped fund the development of four COVID-19 vaccines through its Operation Warp Speed ​​program, which aims to produce 300 million doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.

The US government has awarded grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to more than one billion dollars to Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.

He also signed a $ 450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to help provide therapy for patients with the virus.

Clinical trials for the therapy can produce results in a matter of weeks, producing hundreds of thousands of doses by fall, said the senior administration official.

“While we think it is fair to say that vaccine progress is happening at a rapid pace, faster than all vaccines have been developed in history, the therapies are even faster,” said the official .

“The list is not closed” for the additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, said the official.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 3 million people in the United States and killed more than 130,000 people.

Report by Carl O’Donnell in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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