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EU And J&J In Advanced Talks To Secure A Covid-19 Vaccine Deal: Reuters

EU And J&J In Advanced Talks To Secure A Covid-19 Vaccine Deal: Reuters
The European Commission is close to securing a right to reserve or to make an up-front purchase of the still underdevelopment Covid-19 vaccine of pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson according to a report published by Reuters quoting EU officials with knowledge of the matter. The report claimed that the two parties are in the end stages of negotiations.
If this deal goes through, it would be the first successful such arrangement for Covid-19 vaccine secured by the executive arm of the European Union since the 27 EU national governments mandated it to make use of an emergency fund of more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to secure agreements with up to six manufacturers of vaccine against the viral disease.
According to the report quoting a top health official from an EU member state, the proposed deal of the Commission with the United States based company Johnson & Johnson is “in the pipeline”. A call with Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday about the possible agreement was held by the Commission, said the report quoting a second EU source.
There was no comment on the report from the Commission was available.
Johnson & Johnson said that the company is holding talks with a number of governments and global organizations even as its vaccine against Covid-19 is being developed still. The company however did not provide any further information. 
The report also noted that whether any possible deal with Johnson & Johnson would also involve an advance purchase of the vaccine in testing ro simply an option to purchase it was still unclear.
The under development vaccine of Johnson & Johnson against the highly contagious coronavirus is planned to go into the human clinical trials stage next month. The pandemic has so far killed 447,985 people and infected more than 8.36 million people worldwide.
In a deal with British drug maker AstraZeneca, which it is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, has been struck by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, the countries said last week. According to the deal, the countries have secured rights to 400 million potential vaccine doses from the company which in principle will also be available to all of the member states of the EU.
A similar deal in May with the United States was signed by AstraZeneca.
A deal with Johnson & Johnson and EU could be announced as soon as next week, said the Reuters report but also cautioned that it could take a little longer before the two parties are able to seal the deal.  
Reports also said that the EU is also holding talks with French vaccine-maker Sanofi and negotiations are underway for the deal.
One of the hurdles for these deals could be the EU decision-making procedures as the member states are still in talks over the establishment of a steering board for vaccine negotiations to strike a deal with drug makers, the report said quoting the EU official.
However considering the urgent need for securing a vaccine for the 450 million population of the EU, the Commission had started talks with Johnson & Johnson even prior to the EU states agreeing on the steering board.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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