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Europe progressing in COVID-19 vaccine supply talks with Novavax: report

Having struck COVID-19 vaccine supply deals with AstraZeneca and the partnership between Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, European officials are advancing in talks with Novavax, Reuters reports. 

The union is nearly done with preliminary discussions in a deal likely to come in above 100 million doses, the news service reports, citing an EU senior official. The EU has already struck a shot deal with AstraZeneca for 400 million doses, and another with the Sanofi/GSK team for 300 million doses. 

Aside from those concluded deals, EU officials are discussing vaccine supply pacts with Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, Moderna and the partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech. In total, those agreements would cover 1.3 billion doses. 

If all the EU deals are finalized, the union could have more than 2 billion potential vaccine doses lined up. Of course, the agreements are contingent on the vaccines proving to be safe and effective, and the EU official told Reuters the union is aiming to “split the risks” as it enters multiple supply pacts. 

So far, Britain and the U.S. have inked six COVID-19 vaccine supply deals each, Reuters reports. The EU is in talks with 7 potential supply partners. 

Already, Novavax has stuck deals to provide 100 million doses to the U.S. and 60 million doses to the U.K. if its vaccine succeeds.  

All of the vaccine programs are under a year old, with the COVID-19 crisis only having been declared a pandemic in March. But four programs—from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson—are already in late-stage testing, with early efficacy data expected yet this year. Officials have said they expect vaccinations to start in late 2020 and progress throughout 2021.  

Also on Wednesday, Moncef Slaoui, head of the United States’ Operation Warp Speed, said Novavax’s candidate was set to enter phase 3 testing next month, CNBC’s Meg Tirrell reported.