Government Reaches $1.5B Deal With Moderna For 100M Vaccine Doses

( The U.S. government has reached a deal with Moderna Inc. that will see the company manufacture and then deliver 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, once it is finally approved.

President Donald Trump announced the deal at a briefing Tuesday. The contract is worth more than $1.5 billion. The U.S. would own these doses, which would be distributed and provided to Americans at no cost.

The deal also allows the U.S. government to obtain up to 400 million more doses of the vaccine if needed, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Moderna is just one company that is currently manufacturing a COVID-19 at what is called “at risk.” In other words, the company is manufacturing the drug itself before it has received approval.

The company is doing this so that if it is approved, it can be distributed quickly thereafter. Of course, there is risk involved in this, since there would be a lot of wasted product if it weren’t approved. The drug is currently undergoing clinical trials to see whether it is effective and safe.

Moderna has partnered with the federal government to develop the vaccine. The company has worked with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. It also received help from the US Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority for both clinical trials and scaling up manufacturing.

Moderna is currently in Phase 3 of its clinical trials for the vaccine, which marks the first-ever government-funded Phase 3 trial.

Alex Azar, the HHS secretary, said in a new release on Tuesday:

This is all part of the country’s Operation Warp Speed program, a push from the federal government to develop both therapeutics and vaccines as quickly and safely as possible. HHS has said in the past that the ultimate goal is to get effective vaccines on the market by the end of 2020.

The federal government has reached other similar deals to the one it completed with Moderna. It has a deal with Pfizer for 100 million doses of the company’s vaccine, and a separate deal with Janssen for 100 million for its vaccine.

Other deals are in place with companies such as AstraZeneca, Novavax, Sanofi Pasteur, and GlaxoSmithKline. In all, there are 28 different coronavirus vaccines that are currently in human clinical trials, the World Health Organization has said.

“In creating a vaccine portfolio for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration is increasing the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021. Today’s investment represents the next step in supporting this vaccine candidate all the way from early development by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, through clinical trials, and now large-scale manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”

Russia announced earlier this week that it became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine for use. The problem with it, though, is that it has not finished clinical trials, and therefore, there’s no scientific data that proves it’s safe and effective.