AstraZeneca announced a series of deals on Thursday, June 4, that will double its manufacturing capacity to 2 billion doses for a potential vaccine.
“Our goal is to leave nobody behind,” said AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot, after striking deals with a number of partners including Bill Gates that will guarantee early supply to lower-income countries.
A $750m (£609m) deal with two charities backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the GAVI vaccine alliance — will see it manufacture, procure, and distribute 300 million doses.
The second partnership, with the Serum Institute of India (SII), will see it provide 1 billion doses to low-and-middle-income countries, including 400 million before the end of 2020.
“As the coronavirus has shown, there are no borders,” he said. “It doesn’t discriminate. It’s mean and nasty, but we are all going to take care of it together.”
Pascal said that the company should know by August if the mooted AZD1222 coronavirus vaccine is effective, while CEPI chief executive Richard Hatchett has warned that there is still a chance it may not work.