Equitable access to potential COVID-19 vaccine
AstraZeneca inks agreements with CEPI, Gavi and the Serum Institute of India to bring Oxford University vaccine to low/middle-income countries and beyond
CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—AstraZeneca says that it has taken the “next steps in its commitment to broad and equitable “landmark agreements” with three entities: the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Key to this was a $750-million agreement with CEPI and Gavi to support the manufacturing, procurement and distribution of 300 million doses of the vaccine, with delivery starting by the end of the year. In addition, AstraZeneca reached a licensing agreement with SII to supply one billion doses for low and middle-income countries, with a commitment to provide 400 million before the end of 2020.
Together, the agreements mark the latest commitments to enable global access to the vaccine, including to low- and middle-income countries, beyond AstraZeneca’s recent partnerships with the United Kingdom and United States, the company noted. In additon, AstraZeneca said that it is building a number of supply chains in parallel across the world to support global access at no profit during the pandemic and has so far secured manufacturing capacity for two billion doses of the vaccine.
The agreement with CEPI and Gavi also represents the first advanced market commitment through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration of philanthropic, multilateral, private sector and civil society partners. The mechanism will work to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to the new COVID-19 tools across the world including in low and middle-income nations. CEPI will lead vaccine development and manufacturing and Gavi will lead the procurement within the global mechanism.
Previously, AstraZeneca had agreed to supply 400 million doses to the United States and United Kingdom after reaching a license agreement with Oxford University for its recombinant adenovirus vaccine, formerly ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and now known as AZD1222.
Oxford University recently announced the start of a Phase 2/3 trial of AZD1222 in about 10,000 adult volunteers. Other late-stage trials are due to begin in a number of countries. AstraZeneca said that it recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.
The company’s comprehensive pandemic response also includes rapid mobilization of AstraZeneca’s global research efforts to discover novel coronavirus-neutralising antibodies to prevent and treat progression of the COVID-19 disease, with the aim of reaching clinical trials in the next three to five months. Additionally, the company has quickly moved into testing of new and existing medicines to treat the infection, including the CALAVI and ACCORD trials underway for Calquence (acalabrutinib) and the DARE-19 trial for Farxiga (dapagliflozin) in COVID-19 patients.