US pharma giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech announced on Wednesday that they have reached a $2 billion agreement with the US government for 100 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The US government has the ability to buy an additional 500 million doses after the initial rollout. BioNTech projects that they can manufacture over 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The announcement comes a day after the Trump administration announced that they support wearing a mask and citing that the pandemic would get worse before it gets better.
President Donald Trump has long been criticized for downplaying of pandemic and the deaths that he may have been able to prevent had he changed his stance earlier.
We are proud to have received Fast Track designation from the U.S. FDA for two of our four investigational vaccine candidates from the #BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program. They are being developed to help protect against #COVID19. https://t.co/NHcWj8wJqg pic.twitter.com/jHo6DxCSyc
— BioNTech SE (@BioNTech_Group) July 13, 2020
BioNTech will leave the distribution of the vaccines to the US government as discussions rise over who should receive the vaccine first. The German firm also announced that the vaccine will be free to all Americans as Trump has commented.
BioNTech has narrowed their vaccine candidates down to two frontrunners that have been granted FDA fast track designation. The company is currently waiting on approval of a mass trial including 30,000 volunteers that has the potential to begin later in the month.
The vaccine will most likely require two injections for maximum protection, with the booster shot following seven days later.
The announcement of the reservation of vaccines by the US comes as the global race for the vaccine gains traction. The US has accused both China and Russia of cyber hacking to gain information on the vaccines that are being developed in the US.
There are currently 200 candidate vaccines in development, and 23 of those have continued onto human trials. Five major companies have announced that the vaccines they are developing will be safe, effective, and made without cutting corners.
A definite roll out date for the vaccine is unknown as doctors and scientists focus their energy on the production and testing of the vaccine.