Trump admin strikes deal with two pharma companies to supply potential COVID-19 vaccine

The Trump administration has announced its latest effort to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Washington Examiner, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense have entered into a multibillion-dollar agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine currently in development.

“Approximately 100 million doses”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the administration is currently waiting for the two pharmaceutical firms, which are collaborating on the project, to confirm that a vaccine has passed clinical trials showing it to be safe and effective.

“Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech,” he said.

In exchange for the successful delivery of those 100 million doses, the federal government has agreed to pay Phizer and BioNTech a total of $1.95 billion.

Reports indicate there are other provisions within the contract that would allow the government to secure more doses should the vaccine receive approval or authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The pair of companies currently have a vaccine being studied in clinical trials. So far, it has been administered to 60 patients in Germany and was found to have elicited an immune system response.

“Operation Warp Speed”

Its effectiveness, however, is still unclear — particularly as a preventative treatment for the coronavirus. Ongoing trials are meant to provide such critical information.

As for output, the companies say they are set to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of this year and a billion by the end of 2021. Considering the deal reached this week, it appears the U.S. government will be the recipient of a large portion of that supply.

The move toward developing and mass-producing a vaccine is part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, and this contract is one of several similar agreements.

“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” Azar said.

Trump’s critics might still try to find fault with his coronavirus response, but this deal proves his administration is serious about getting an effective vaccine to the American people as quickly as possible.

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