The government of Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he had granted $ 1.6 billion in the biotech american Novavax for its vaccine project, the COVID-19, granting the United States the priority of the 100 million first doses in the event of proven effectiveness.
The administration of Donald Trump has launched the operation “Warp Speed” (” beyond the speed of light “) in an attempt to produce 300 million doses of a vaccine by January 2021, in order to vaccinate Americans in priority. Unlike Europe and other countries, the United States plays alone and does not participate in the raising of funds international.
The u.s. government has invested billions of dollars in projects to rivals of several biotechs and laboratories, based on different technologies, to fund the clinical trials and, in parallel, the construction of manufacturing facilities on a very large scale. Not to mention the purchase of 92% of the production of the antiviral remdesivir until September, the first drug to have shown a relative efficacy on patients of the COVID-19.
“The operation Warp Speed creates a portfolio of vaccines to increase the chances that we have at least one safe and effective vaccine as early as the end of the year,” said Alex Azar, secretary of state for Health.
The investment in the ministries of Health and Defence in Novavax, based in Maryland, should ensure the manufacture of 100 million doses at the end of this year, to be used in clinical trials and, eventually, to a vaccination campaign in the case of registration.
“We are honored with the partnership with the operation Warp Speed to advance our project of vaccine with an extraordinary urgency, in order to provide vital protection to the people of our country,” said Stanley Erck, president and CEO of Novavax.
Novavax has started its clinical trials on 130 people in Australia in may, with the help of funding from the CEPI, a coalition of public-private devoted to the financing of vaccines; the results are not yet known. It should launch the test says phase 3 (the last and largest) in the fall, with up to 30,000 participants, according to a press release. Its proposed vaccine is called NVX?CoV2373.
The United States had previously invested more than two billion dollars in the projects of vaccines, Johnson & Johnson (456 million), Moderna (483 million) and AstraZeneca ($1.2 billion, in partnership with Oxford), the latter two being the most advanced. The French laboratory Sanofi had received a small contract in February ($30 million) but it is unknown whether he was engaged in ” Warp Speed “.
The operation, according to the ministry of Health on June 16, had initially selected 14 projects, back then seven (the full list is not public).
The United States has also invested in other companies to increase the capacity of production plants for pharmaceuticals, and the manufacture of syringes and glass vials that will be needed to distribute future vaccines and treatments.
On Tuesday, Washington has also provided $ 450 million to the corporation Regeneron for its experimental treatment (REGN-COV2) against the COVID-19, not proven but being tested on patients for the coronavirus (in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile), and on people not infected, but recently exposed to the virus (the United States).
The first results could be announced this summer. To this day, only the remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone were found to be as effective on patients for the coronavirus.