The US will have priority access to a Covid-19 vaccine if and when Sanofi develops one, the French pharmaceutical giant told Bloomberg, explaining that the US offered more money to fund vaccine research.
“The US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Sanofi’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
Sanofi is one of the biggest players among dozens of companies racing to develop a vaccine against the disease that has killed at least 290,000 people worldwide.
It has partnered with UK rival GlaxoSmithKline Plc on the project supported by the US and says it could make 600 million doses annually — a capacity that Hudson said he aims to double.
The head of Sanofi warned the EU in April that in the current pandemic the manufacturing of vaccines posed more challenges than their actual development.
“There is less concern about finding a successful vaccine than there is about making the volumes needed,” Hudson said.
Estimating production capacity needs is hard, because nobody yet knows the composition of a potential Covid-19 shot or how many doses would be needed per person.
At a meeting last week, EU health experts discussed joining forces to buy flu shots before the next influenza season, “which is even more important due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”, according to public minutes.
Discussions over joint procurement schemes for vaccines highlight the EU’s anxiety over its limited access to vital medical supplies, and the risk that EU states might otherwise bid against each other for access.
Many countries experienced shortages of medical equipment, devices and drugs to treat Covid-19 patients in March and April, and the EU fears shortages could occur again when a Covid-19 vaccine is available, especially if it is developed elsewhere.
The United States and China have been wary of supporting a global funding campaign promoted by the EU that raised $8 billion to research, manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine and treatments for Covid-19 earlier in May.
Read more via Bloomberg