the 17th November, the European Commission approved the fifth contract to date
with Tübingen-based CureVac for the supply of vaccines as part of the fight
against the COVID-19 pandemic. This will provide up to 405 million doses of
vaccine, said European Commission President von der Leyen in a statement released on the 16th November.
Thus, the following agreements have come
into force for the EU to date, through which, theoretically and including the
agreed options, up to 1.8 billion vaccine doses could be obtained:
- AstraZeneca on the 27th August
- Sanofi-GS on the 18th September
- Johnson & Johnson on the 21st October
- BionTech-Pfizer on the 11th November
- CureVac on the 17th November
Another agreement is to be concluded with
Moderna, who are based in the USA, and the initial exploratory talks were held
in August. The European Commission is also in discussion with the manufacturer
Against the background of the health
emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, an accelerated development of
drugs has become necessary in principle; and we reported on the corresponding European Commission proposal
The European Commission is now relying on a
broad portfolio of vaccine manufacturers and correspondingly different
technologies, as it is not yet clear which vaccine will prove effective and
safe. Currently, three potential coronavirus vaccines from the AstraZeneca,
BionTech-Pfizer and Moderna are undergoing the European Medicines Agency
(EMA)'s approval process.
If all goes well, the first conditional
approvals for BionTech and Moderna vaccines could be granted as early as the
second half of December this year, said European Commission President von der
Leyen at a press conference held on the 19th November. The EMA is also
in close contact with its equivalent U.S. authority, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), to coordinate the evaluation of the vaccine candidates.
“After successful marketing approval, each
EU member state will receive the vaccine simultaneously, proportionately and
under the same conditions”, stated von der Leyen.
Since the 18th September, the European
Commission has also been participating in the international 'COVAX facility' with the aim of providing low and middle
income countries access to the vaccine. COVAX stands for ‘COVID-19 Vaccines
Global Access’ and it is a global concept for the development, production and
supply of tests, medicaments and vaccines related to COVID-19 under the
leadership of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the CEPI Vaccine Initiative and the
WHO. In total, the EU is providing 800 million euros, which is currently the
largest global grant.