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U.S. coronavirus vaccine programme to start manufacturing by late summer

Reuters/New York
Filed on July 14, 2020
Drugmakers, manufacturing, coronavirus, Covid-19, vaccine, united states, late summer, operation warp speed
Dr Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), holds up a model of SARS-CoV-2, known as the novel coronavirus, during a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on the plan to research, manufacture and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, U.S., July 2, 2020.

(Reuters)

Operation Warp Speed aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021.

Drugmakers partnered with the U.S. government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for Covid-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said on Monday.

"If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer," the official, who declined to be identified by name, said.

He added that the administration is already working with companies to equip and outfit manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.

The Trump administration has helped finance the development of four Covid-19 vaccines so far though its Operation Warp Speed Programme, which aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021.

The U.S. government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) to Johnson & Johnson , Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.

It also signed a $450 million (Dh1.65 billion) contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus.

Clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, making it possible to produce hundereds of thousands of doses by fall, the senior administration official said.

"While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster," the official said.

The "slate is not closed" for additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, the official said.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3 million people in the United States and killed more than 130,000.



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