Coronavirus vaccine tracker: The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has entered into an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for securing supplies of 400 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that the company is developing. The deal will allow member countries to access guaranteed supplies of 200 million doses once the vaccine is ready, hopefully, early next year. The agreement keeps open the possibility of supplies of another 200 million doses, if the need arises.
This is the third such agreement that the European Commission has entered into. It has earlier signed similar contracts with AstraZeneca, which is developing a vaccine in collaboration with Oxford University, and with Sanofi-GSK. Those deals are worth 300 million doses each.
The latest agreement with Johnson & Johnson means European Union now has placed advanced orders of at least 800 million doses of vaccines. The United States has also secured advanced supplies of 800 million doses, having signed agreements with six developers. The United Kingdom has signed six agreements as well, and booked 350 million doses for its citizens.
The advance booking with multiple developers is being done to safeguard the countries against failure of one or more of these vaccines to get regulatory approval. Advance orders ensure that these countries would get the supplies first, as and when the vaccines start getting manufactured after they are approved, so that they are not affected by the likely shortage that is likely to prevail during the first few months after the vaccines are ready.
The European Commission said it had concluded exploratory talks with three other vaccine developers – Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and CureVac.
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Moderna says it won’t enforce patents rights over its coronavirus vaccine till the pandemic is over
US company Moderna, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine, has said it would not enforce patent rights against companies trying to copy its vaccine during the time the pandemic is still on. In a statement on Thursday, the company said it would be even willing to license its intellectual property on the vaccines for use after the pandemic is over.
“Moderna recognises that intellectual property rights play an important role in encouraging investment in research… Beyond Moderna’s vaccine, there are other Covid-19 vaccines in development that may use Moderna-patented technologies. We feel a special obligation under the current circumstances to use our resources to bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible,” the company said in the statement.
“Accordingly, while the pandemic continues, Moderna will not enforce our Covid-19 related patents gainst those making vaccines intended to combat the pandemic. Further, to eliminate any perceived intellectual property barriers to vaccine development during the pandemic period, upon request, we are also willing to license our intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines to others for the post pandemic period,” it said.
Moderna is trying to develop the coronavirus vaccine using RNA-based technology. Such a technology has not delivered any vaccine till now. But Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is considered one of the leading candidates to succeed and get approved soon. The vaccine is under phase-3 clinical trials in the United States, and the company hopes to start getting effectiveness data from these trials by the end of November. The vaccine is expected to be ready by early next year.
Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far
- 193 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
- 42 of them in clinical trials
- Ten in final stages, phase-III of human trials
- At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I.
The ones most talked about:
* AstraZeneca/Oxford University
* Johnson & Johnson
* Russian vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Insttiute in Moscow
* Three Chinese vaccines that have been approved for use in China without phase-3 trials being completed. One of them has been given emergency use authorisation in UAE
(As on October 8; source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of October 2, 2020)
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