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UK agrees to buy millions more COVID-19 vaccine doses

A scientist is pictured working during a visit by Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (unseen), to Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, west of London on June 24, 2020, on his visit to learn more about the group's work to establish a viable vaccine against coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A scientist is pictured working at Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Photo: Steve Parsons /AFP/Getty

Britain has entered into agreements with two more pharmaceutical companies to buy millions of doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccines, as it pushes to secure hundreds of millions of vaccine doses from companies around the world.

The UK government entered into a deal with US-based Novavax (NVAX) to purchase 60 million doses of its vaccine. Novavax said in a statement that the government had also agreed to collaborate on Phase 3 trials, ie testing the vaccine on large numbers of volunteers, in the UK from the third quarter of this year.

The government has also inked a deal with US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for 30 million doses of its vaccine candidate being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutica company, plus an agreement to buy 22 million more in the future.


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The UK has been on a huge shopping spree to secure coronavirus vaccines from companies with promising candidates. According to Reuters, in total it has made agreements to buy 362 million vaccine doses in total; the population of the UK is 66 million.

It agreed with Pfizer (PFE) and BioNtech (BNTX) to buy 30 million doses of its potential messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, and to take 60 million doses from France’s Valneva, and 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine in development.

Germany’s BioNTech and Pfizer announced at the end of July that they had started late-stage human trials of its vaccine on some 30,000 people.

READ MORE: BioNTech reports quarterly loss as it pushes ahead with COVID-19 vaccine trials

There are currently over 25 potential vaccine candidates in clinical trials around the world, according to the World Health Organisation, with smaller biotech companies partnering with large drugmakers to speed and fund the processes.

Russia announced at the weekend that it had approved the “world’s first” COVID-19 vaccine, but has drawn criticism from global health experts for not adhering to strict testing protocols.

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