The French Pharmaceutical company Sanofi reported on Friday that it had secured a deal of up to $2.1 billion to supply the United States government with 100 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, the biggest such kind of deal announced to date.
The arrangement brings the Trump administration’s total expenditure in order to procure a vaccine for coronavirus in excess of $8 billion. This sprawling, multiagency effort, generally known as Operation Warp Speed, is like putting a wager on several vaccines and is having to pay Pharma Companies to manufacture millions of doses before clinical trials have been finished.
“The world-wide need for a vaccine to help protect against Covid-19 is actually enormous, and is believed that no single vaccine or company will be able to meet the world-wide demand alone,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur, the company’s vaccine division, said in a statement.
Under the deal announced, Sanofi along with its partner, the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, will get federal funding to pay for clinical trials and also for developing the vaccine. Sanofi stated the deal also includes an option for the company to provide an additional 500 million doses.
The company is expecting to begin clinical trials to test for basic safety in Sept ., followed by late-stage efficacy tests before the end of this year. Sanofi said it might apply for regulatory approval in the first half of next year.
In the event the vaccine is successful, it will be made available to Americans at no cost, other than what suppliers charge to administer it, the federal government stated in a statement.
The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, is a past GSK executive who as of May held just under $10 million in GSK stock. Dr. Slaoui’s monetary ties to a few of the corporations which are pursuing coronavirus vaccines have elevated concerns regarding conflicts of interest.
Sanofi and GSK didn’t say how much of the federal money would go to each company — just that Sanofi will receive the most. GSK didn’t comment on whether Dr. Slaoui has recused himself from negotiations over the deal. Senior administration personnel claimed all deals were negotiated by federal “acquisition professionals” and that Dr. Slaoui was not involved in the negotiations.
Two days after U.S. deaths exceeded 150,000, about three well known federal health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, are returning to Capitol Hill to confirm in front of a new audience: the House’s special select committee looking into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
Dr. Fauci, the nation’s best contagious disease expert, is being joined on Friday morning by Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health and the administration’s point person on coronavirus testing.
The three witnesses last testified a month ago before lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Senate, during that time subject matter was school reopening.
However, the Democrat-led House select committee has experienced a hard time getting Dr. Fauci and his colleagues as witnesses. The Trump administration initially denied making them available.
The hearing is taking place just as states across the country are reimposing limits in response to the resurgence of cases — a turn of events indicated in the heading lawmakers gave the hearing: “The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus.”
The session can be expected to center on three overlapping subjects: testing, vaccines, and the pressure some quarters to send children back to school. On Thursday, the president, meeting along with reporters, yet again stressed his desire for students to return to the classroom.
With President Trump clearly intent on announcing prmosing vaccine news, it has fallen to Dr. Fauci to offer reassurances t
hat the federal government is moving quickly nonetheless safely.
Dr. Redfield will most likely end up being questioned about the C.D.C.’s move on reopening schools. The agency’s earlier published regulations tilt strongly toward reopening, listing a number of advantages of in-person education, and playing down potential health risks.
For Admiral Giroir. the questions are likely to focus on slowdowns in test results throughout the South, just where local health officials have complained of unbearable wait times.
The coronavirus panel was established this spring by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a huge part to put a check on how the federal government is spending the trillions of dollars in emergency aid. But its mandate has broadened to include a panoply of concerns, including racial disparities in the pandemic and nursing home outbreaks.
A number of the House’s fieriest members are on the panel, including Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who is known for being a regular skeptic of Dr. Fauci and public health mandates, like mask-wearing.
Several of the panel’s prominent Democrats are also not known for shying away from conflict, which includes its chairman, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, and Representative Maxine Waters of California.
The hearing is being held a day after Florida and Arizona broke single-day records for fatalities from the virus, with Florida confirming 253 deaths on Thursday and Arizona 158. Mississippi also set a record, with 48 deaths. That state and three others — Missouri, Hawaii, and Ohio — set single-day records for new cases.