Moderna: EU in talks to buy up to 160 million doses of coronavirus vaccine

The EU has agreed to a preliminary 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine in its exploratory talks with the company, which could be finalised soon, a spokesman for the health commissioner said on Tuesday.

“In the context of the finalisation of the exploratory talks we agreed on 160 million doses,” spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said at the European Commission’s daily press conference. This would be 80 million doses plus an option to request an additional 80 million additional doses.

“Of course we continue to have negotiations, and we will see how this will be translated into an actual contract,” he added.

It comes one day after US biotechnology company Moderna announced that its vaccine appeared to be 94.5% effective, after just five COVID-19 cases were reported in the group that received two doses of the mRNA vaccine.

This efficacy rate is likely to go down as the trial continues, experts say, though many have hailed the results as encouraging.

The EU has concluded multiple contracts for vaccines, including one that was announced just yesterday with CureVac, a European company that is also working on a vaccine candidate.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced yesterday that the EU had agreed to buy up to 405 million doses of the vaccine if successful. The bloc concluded an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech after news of the efficacy of their vaccine as well.

The Pfizer agreement was for “a supply of 200 million doses and an option to request additional 100 million doses” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement.

De Keersmaecker said that the EU wanted to develop a “diversified and broad portfolio of different vaccine candidates” since it is unknown which vaccine candidate will be effective, safe and available.

That is why they have multiple agreements with vaccine developers, the spokesman said.

He added that there is a risk of that “some of the investments will not come to successful vaccines” which is why they reduce the risk by investing in multiple providers.

Any vaccine would need to be reviewed and authorised by the European Medicines Agency before distribution.

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