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UK to procure 60m doses of potential coronavirus vaccine

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THE British government has signed a supply deal to secure up to 60 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine currently being developed by pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.

    “A deal to secure early access to a promising new coronavirus vaccine has been announced by the government today (29 July), enhancing the UK’s growing portfolio of vaccine candidates to protect the public and to save lives,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said today in a statement.

    “The agreement with GSK and Sanofi Pasteur, which combined have the largest vaccine manufacturing capability in the world, will supply the UK with 60 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, which is based on existing DNA-based technology used to produce Sanofi’s flu vaccine,” the statement added.

According to the government, this latest deal could allow priority groups to be vaccinated as early as summer 2021, should the Sanofi and GSK vaccine candidate prove effective in human studies.

“Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before. While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

“In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives,” he added.

Diversified access: The UK government has now signed deals to secure access to four potential vaccines being developed, totaling 250 million doses.

“Through this agreement with GSK and Sanofi, the Vaccine Taskforce can add another type of vaccine to the three different types of vaccine we have already secured,” the chair of the government’s vaccines task force, Kate Bingham, said.

“This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to Covid-19,” she added, cautioning that the UK must not be complacent or overly optimistic.

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