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EU plans to announce fresh vaccine deal with Moderna

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Brussels plans to nearly triple orders for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine as part of the EU’s push to address the emergence of new variants and the potential need for booster shots.

People explained on Wednesday that the European Commission has announced a contract to administer an additional 150 million more US drug jabs this year and plans to announce another 150 million options next year.

This agreement is in addition to last year’s purchase agreement for 160 million shots of Modernashot in Brussels. This is part of a broader effort to address the criticism that EU vaccines have been delayed and to prepare for the potential for disease progression as mutants emerge.

BioNTech / Pfizer also confirmed the agreement that Brussels had previously flagged to increase the supply of vaccines to the EU from the expected 300m to 500m this year and to add an option to add another 100m.

Delivery under the new moderna contract is unlikely to ease the pressure on current short-term vaccine supply prior to the increase in deliveries to the EU in April. BioNTech said an estimated 75m of the agreed additional 200m dose will be provided between April and June.

This development is brought about by Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen strengthening her efforts to increase EU vaccine supply, following weeks of negative headlines on deployment. I will.

In today’s series of announcements, she strives to address the risk of new variants of the pathogen emerging, the risk that plagues health authorities around the world.

According to people familiar with the plan, the chairman of the committee will use funding from the EU’s Horizon Scientific Research Program to fund the study of new variants of the pathogen and related research of € 150 million. I will announce it. In addition, at least € 75 million in EU funding will be invested in the development of specialized tests for new variants.

Both the BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are based on pioneering mRNA technology, and experts say it’s easier to develop new versions to address new viral variants than traditional jabs. ..

The Commission has been accused of lagging behind efforts in the United States and the United Kingdom to deploy the vaccine. Critics question whether the Commission and Member States have invested in advance sufficient funds to support the efforts of companies to develop vaccines and build capacity.

Earlier this month, Von der Leyen admitted to the European Parliament that the Commission had made a mistake in its jab procurement strategy with its member states. She was overly optimistic about her ability to produce vaccines, saying Brussels could have been able to approve some Covid-19 shots sooner.

Von der Leyen, along with health commissioner Stella Kyriakides and regional market commissioner Thierry Breton, announces the commission’s new efforts to combat the virus.

The Commission’s goal is to ensure rapid detection of mutated versions of the virus and to enable rapid adaptation of vaccines to respond to new threats. The proposed measures include a framework that allows patentees to secretly share intellectual property with their partners to create new jabs for variants.

The Commission’s plans also quickly track regulatory approvals for updated vaccines (which may follow models already used for influenza jabs) and approve new capabilities to produce indicated vaccines. We aim to speed up. This includes expanding the capacity to produce both existing and indicated vaccines.

The Commission also wants to renew existing vaccine pre-purchase agreements, sign new ones and support the development of new adaptive jabs with EU funding.

Moderna did not immediately respond to the request for comment. The committee declined to comment.

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