AstraZeneca obtains US$1 bil from US to help fund coronavirus vaccine

LONDON: British pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca on Thursday said it had obtained more than US$1 billion from the US to help fund the production of a coronavirus vaccine.

It comes amid concerns that the United States could have a vaccine before other countries thanks to its large-scale funding of pharmaceutical companies around the world.

France has already slammed drugs giant Sanofi for suggesting the US would get any eventual vaccine first, as world leaders demand that the science should be shared among nations.

“AstraZeneca today received support of more than US$1 billion from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine,” a statement said.

AstraZeneca is partnering with the University of Oxford to develop and distribute the coronavirus vaccine, which is being trialled in the UK.

The US funding is far greater than that of Britain, whose government has given just £20 million (US$24.4 million) towards the development of the vaccine.