AstraZeneca could profit from COVID-19 vaccine as early as July - FT
(Reuters) - AstraZeneca could benefit from its COVID-19 vaccine as early as July next year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing a memo that the UK drug maker can explain when it believes the pandemic is over .
The London Stock Exchange-listed company previously said it would not benefit from the vaccine "during the pandemic," and the report traces the development back to a memorandum of understanding signed earlier this year between AstraZeneca and Brazilian health organization Fiocruz. (https://on.ft.com/3lgC0Xo)
AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, has signed multiple supply and manufacturing contracts for more than 3 billion doses worldwide, although details of the terms are little known.
The FT said the "pandemic" could be extended beyond July 1, 2021, but only if Cambridge, England-based AstraZeneca "has a good faith belief that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is not over yet is ".
"From the outset, AstraZeneca's approach has been to treat the vaccine's development in response to a global public health emergency rather than a commercial opportunity," the drug maker said in a statement Thursday.
The company said it created multiple supply chains to ensure that access to its vaccine is timely, comprehensive and equitable for high and low income countries, "with a current capacity of more than three billion doses."
"We continue to work in this public spirit and will seek advice from experts, including global organizations, when we can say the pandemic is behind us," the company added.
The pricing and delivery of experimental COVID-19 vaccines has been debated as richer countries pour billions of dollars into funding, and AstraZeneca has also been granted protection from future liability claims.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Juby Babu; editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Ramakrishnan M. and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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