Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Thursday it has booked orders for at least 400 million doses of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus being developed by the University of Oxford.
The U.K.-based multinational company said it has the capacity to manufacture 1 billion doses of the as yet unproven vaccine and would begin delivering them in September. The drugmaker aims to conclude further deals to expand manufacturing capacity over the next few months, according to a press release.
"We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement Thursday. "We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available."
Researchers at the University of Oxford began testing the vaccine candidate, now known as AZD1222, in healthy human volunteers in southern England on April 23. AstraZeneca said data from the first and second phases of the clinical trial are expected shortly and, if positive, would lead to late-stage trials in a number of nations.
The company said it "recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk."
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