Bio E in pact with J&J to manufacture Covid-19 vaccine

Henrietta Brewer
August 14, 2020

Hyderabad-based pharmaceuticals and biologics firm Biological E. Limited (BE) on August 13 signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, part of pharma major Johnson & Johnson, for the creation and enhancement of production capabilities to make the latter's COVID-19 vaccine.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his government would announce the deal on Thursday, adding that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Argentinian counterpart supported the deal.

HHS says the vaccine doses will be delivered to government-designated locations across the country and the US could acquire up to an additional 400 million doses of the vaccine.

The government investment assures the vaccine would be made available at no cost to Americans; though health care providers could charge fees for administering it.

"Manufacturing in parallel with clinical trials expedites the traditional vaccine development timeline", the HHS said in a press release.

"Everyone gets treated as if they've got the same thing, and we wait and watch".

"We'll be prioritizing the vulnerable populations", Varela said at the Mexican president's daily news conference, noting that the pricing, while still not final, was not expected to exceed $4 per dose.

The Trump administration has already reached supply agreements with several other vaccine front-runners. According to the sources quoted in an Indian Express report, discussions were also held on the issue of upgrading the eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network), a digital system that tracks the stocks of vaccines in the world.

Moderna will manufacture the vaccine as clinical trials continue, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.

USA public health officials last month charged a group of independent scientists and ethicists with developing guidelines to determine who should get the first doses of a vaccine, once one becomes available.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar says four of the six companies under contract have reported testing results showing they produce more antibodies for the virus than people who have survived COVID-19, without severe side effects.

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