AstraZeneca builds capacity for 2bn COVID-19 vaccines

By William Smith
AstraZeneca has announced the capacity to produce two billion of the COVID-19 vaccines it is developing with Oxford University researchers...

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced the capacity to produce two billion of the COVID-19 vaccines it is developing with Oxford University researchers.

Having signed a $750mn agreement with CEPI and Gavi, healthcare companies backed by Bill and Melinda Gates, to manufacture, procure and distribute 300 million vaccine doses beginning at the end of the year, AstraZeneca further announced a licensing agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply one billion doses of the vaccine to low and middle-income countries.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said in a press release: “We are working tirelessly to honour our commitment to ensure broad and equitable access to Oxford’s vaccine across the globe and at no profit. Today marks an important step in helping us supply hundreds of millions of people around the world, including to those in countries with the lowest means. I am deeply grateful for everyone’s commitment to this cause and for their work in bringing this together in such a short time.”

Those partnerships build on existing ones in the UK and the US to supply 400 million Oxford University’s recombinant adenovirus vaccine, with AstraZeneca saying it was building supply chains globally to facilitate global access.

Dr Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer, CEPI, said: “AstraZeneca and our other industry partners have a critical role to play in rapidly developing safe and effective vaccines and manufacturing the billions of doses needed to put a permanent end to the COVID-19 pandemic. AstraZeneca is admirably committed to equitable global access for this vaccine, and this partnership demonstrates how the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility will bring the private, public and third sectors together to make COVID-19 vaccines available to those who need them most, for the benefit of all.”

Dr Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer, Gavi, said: “Today we have seen tremendous willingness from donor governments to support equitable access, particularly to developing countries – and it is incredibly heartening to see the private sector join in this effort. We encourage other vaccine manufacturers to work with us towards the shared global goal of finding solutions for this unprecedented pandemic.”

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