US to buy 100 million doses of potential Covid-19 vaccine for $ 1.5 billion

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The United States has pledged to buy 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine under development by Moderna, Donald Trump announced, even if the vaccine remains at an experimental stage.

The US president said on Tuesday his administration had agreed to buy 100 million doses from the US biotech group, with an option to buy an additional 400 million, for which the company said it would be paid a little more than $ 1.5 billion.

The deal comes after the United States struck a similar deal with Moderna rival Pfizer to purchase 100 million doses for a price of nearly $ 2 billion.

Mr. Trump said, “We are investing in the development and manufacture of the first six vaccine candidates to ensure rapid delivery.

“The military is ready to go, it is ready to deliver a vaccine to the Americans as soon as it is fully approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and we are very close to that approval. ”

Moderna is entering Phase 3 clinical trials of its investigational drug, known as mRNA-1273, after a Phase 1 trial earlier this year showed the vaccine elicited an antibody response in all 45 participants.

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The Financial Times revealed last month that the company was looking for a price of around $ 25 to $ 30 per dose, compared to the $ 19.50 charged by Pfizer. But while the price announced on Tuesday seemed cheaper than that charged by Pfizer, it didn’t include nearly $ 1 billion that the US government has already agreed to pay to support vaccine development.

Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in a statement: “We appreciate the confidence of the US government in our mRNA vaccine platform and its continued support.

The Trump administration has previously announced that it is investing in manufacturing plants as well as storage and delivery facilities in the hope that an effective vaccine can be deployed as quickly as possible.

Earlier today, Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health, said the administration aimed to be able to deliver tens of millions of doses of the vaccine by December.

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