The United States has entered a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna that would give Trump's administration 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine candidate that the pharmaceutical company is developing after it passes approval of the regulatory body.
Preparing coronavirus vaccines
The White House and Moderna announced the agreement on Tuesday after weeks of attempts by the American government to acquire hundreds of millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from multiple medical companies.
The US government's move is part of its Operation Warp Speed program that aims to provide coronavirus vaccines across the country before the year ends.
According to the New York Post, Moderna has given its coronavirus vaccine a price tag of about $30.50 for every person who would be given a two-dose regimen.
All of the US's deals with pharmaceutical companies put the price range of each coronavirus vaccine dose at around $20 to $42 for two-dose treatments except for one, AstraZeneca. The company has agreed to supply coronavirus vaccines for a much lower price compared to competitors in exchange for upfront research and developments costs it would need to provide.
Moderna said its vaccine candidate is given the name mRNA-1273 and is one of a handful of vaccines currently ongoing final testing trials and are on track to be approved by September. The company's deal with the US government will only pay out in full efficiency if it successfully meets timings for the delivery of the vaccine.
The companies included in the list that the United States will purchase coronavirus vaccines include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, and several others.
The agreements would provide the US with over 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccines it could distribute across the country. This number assumes all of the development companies successfully get approval for their potential vaccines.
Moderna's Chief Executive Stephane Bancel stated the company was grateful for the US government's confidence in their vaccine candidate and for the continued support they have provided in the development process, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Fighting the pandemic
Government officials see vaccines as the most crucial part of fighting against the coronavirus pandemic that has continued to terrorize the United States and the whole world. However, the cost and prices of the treatments have begun to come into question as a select few have entered late-stage trials.
Alex Azar, the secretary for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said the government is listing down several coronavirus vaccine candidates to increase the chances that the nation would have access to at least one safe treatment for Operation Warp Speed.
Moderna's vaccine candidate will be put to its late-stage trials which would include 30,000 volunteers to test its safety and efficacy in human hosts. Public health officials anticipate that results of the trials would determine whether or not the vaccine would actually work and is safe to use on humans.
During its early-stage trials, Moderna's vaccine candidate produced an immune response in 45 health volunteers and evaluated it to be generally safe for humans.
Throughout Moderna's development of its vaccine, the United States government has provided about $950 million in funding to help support the costs of the research and testing. Morgan Stanley analysts say that adding the financial support, the price of each dose of the pharmaceutical company's vaccine would rise to about $25 per dose or $50 for a two-dose regimen per person.