Coronavirus: UK secures 90 million doses of potential virus vaccines

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Britain has secured access to 90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines in deals with biotech firms BioNTech, Pfizer and Valneva, the government said Monday. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said Britain would now have access to three different types of vaccines being developed domestically and around the world, and it had also launched a website for volunteers to sign up for vaccine studies.

“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible,” said Sharma.

The deals involve 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer, and 60 million doses of another created by France’s Valneva.

BioNTech and Pfizer’s vaccine,  BNT162, is an mRNA-based vaccine against the novel coronavirus. It is set to enter Phase 2/3 clinical trials and gain regulatory approval by October, according to Pfizer.

While Valneva’s vaccine, VLA2001 is an inactivated vaccine which could enter clinical trials by the end of this year.

The government has already said it would purchase 100 million doses of a vaccine currently being trialed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.

Britain has been one of the worst affected countries in the world since the outbreak began, suffering more than 45,000 deaths.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an effective vaccine was “our best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal.

“I urge everyone who can to back the national effort and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible.”