EUROPEAN Union (EU) officials have entered into an agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to buy 300m doses of any Covid-19 vaccine it manufactures for distribution across the community.
So far, there is no globally accepted coronavirus vaccine although several companies in numerous countries are racing to develop one. Last week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, said his scientists have developed a drug named Sputnik, which he said would be the first Covid-19 vaccine on the market.
In anticipation of a vaccine becoming available, the European Commission plans to buy the AstraZeneca doses on behalf of the 27 EU-member states should the drug be found to be safe and effective. This purchase agreement which comes a day after the commission announced having concluded talks with Johnson & Johnson, also includes an option to buy 100m doses more.
Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands had already signed an initial contract with AstraZeneca in June for more than 300m doses of a vaccine that is still in the experimental phase. EU spokesperson Vivian Loonela, said the commission was in talks with member states about their needs.
In July, the European Commission signed a contract with pharmaceutical giant Gilead to buy 30,000 doses of the drug Remdesivir, which is used to treat severe cases of Covid-19. Although it has been said to be effective, Remdesivir is not an anti-coronavirus drug but a is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication.