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EU approves BioNTech -Pfizer contract for access to vaccine

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EU approves BioNTech -Pfizer contract for access to vaccine

Vaccine - Photo © European Union

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission approved a fourth contract with pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer Wednesday, providing for an initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States.

The contract has an option to request up to a further 100 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. Member States can decide to donate the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or to re-direct it to other European countries.

The contract with the BioNTech-Pfizer alliance builds upon a broad portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the already signed a contracts with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, and the concluded successful exploratory talks with CureVac and Moderna. The Commission says the diversified vaccines portfolio will ensure Europe is well prepared for vaccination, once the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective.

"With this fourth contract we are now consolidating an extremely solid vaccine candidate portfolio, most of them in advanced trials phase," said Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen: "Once authorised, they will be quickly deployed and bring us closer to a sustainable solution of the pandemic."

BioNTech is a German company working with US-based Pfizer to develop a new vaccine based on messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA plays a fundamental role in biology, transferring instructions from DNA to cells' protein making machinery. In an mRNA vaccine, these instructions make harmless fragments of the virus which the human body uses to build an immune response to prevent or fight disease.

The Commission has taken a decision to support this vaccine based on a sound scientific assessment, the technology used, the companies' experience in vaccine development and their production capacity to supply the whole of the EU.

EU Vaccines Strategy

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