AstraZeneca gets $1B from US to produce COVID-19 vaccine

British drugmaker AstraZeneca secured more than $1 billion from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority May 21 to support increased access to its COVID-19 vaccine. 

AstraZeneca partnered with the University of Oxford to develop, manufacture and deliver the university's recombinant adenovirus vaccine to foster its broad distribution worldwide. The drugmaker has acquired more than 400 million doses and plans to source 1 billion doses throughout this year and 2021. Deliveries will begin in September.

"AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk," the company said in a news release.

Phases 1 and 2 of clinical trials began in April and tested the vaccine's safety and efficacy in more than 1,000 volunteers in southern England. Pending positive results, AstraZeneca plans to implement late-stage trials in more countries. The company hopes to involve 30,000 participants in phase 3 and develop a pediatric trial.

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