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EU concludes exploratory talks with CureVac to buy potential COVID-19 vaccine

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-21 09:25

Professor Gottfried Kremsner injects a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from German biotechnology company CureVac to a volunteer at the start of a clinical test series at his tropical institute of the university clinic in Tuebingen, Germany, June 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - As the efforts of the European Union (EU) to secure supply of vaccines against the COVID-19 continue, the European Commission on Thursday announced it has concluded exploratory talks with CureVac to purchase a potential vaccine.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday that "Each round of talks that we conclude with the pharmaceutical industry brings us closer to beating this virus."

It is anticipated that the Commission will have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 225 million doses on behalf of all EU member states, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, according to a media release from the Commission.

It added that CureVac pioneers in vaccines based on messenger RNA, transported into cells by lipid nanoparticles. The basic principle is the use of this molecule as a data carrier for information, and the human body would then produce its own active substances to combat various diseases.

The company received earlier EU funding. In early July, the European Investment Bank and CureVac signed a 75-million-euro loan agreement for the development and large-scale production of vaccines, including CureVac's vaccine candidate against COVID-19.

CureVac is the fourth partner the Commission has announced to have been talking with. So far the Commission has signed an actual advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca, and published "positive steps" with Sanofi-GSK and Johnson & Johnson.

Commenting on the Commission's vaccine plans, Paivi Sillanaukee, a director general at the Finnish Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, said it is a new situation that the EU is negotiating on behalf of all the 27 members.

"The countries agreed on this with a view to securing the best possible negotiating position," she said on Finland's national radio Yle on Thursday.

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