Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical giant has replied on an apparent promise to prioritise the US market with any possible Covid-19 vaccine.
The CEO the company Paul Hudson ignited a row by stating the US government had the first right for the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk.
Edouard Philippe French Prime Minister reacted by saying access for all was a non-negotiable.
The chairman of Sanofi’s has now promised equal access for everyone.
Serge Weinberg said “I am going to be extremely clear: there will be no particular advance for any country”.
“Mr Hudson’s words had been distorted” He added.
Prime Minister Philippe also confirmed that he had spoken to Mr Weinberg and validates all the necessary assurance regarding the distribution of an eventual Sanofi vaccine.
The European Union insisted that all countries should treat equivalent on access to the vaccine. Stefan de Keersmaecker, European Commission spokesman, quoted “The vaccine against Covid-19 should be a global public good and its access needs to be equitable and universal”.
Why is the issue so important?
The search for a Covid-19 vaccine is the top priority for labs all over the world, with extreme pressure to accelerate a process that usually take years to develop.
Earlier this month the EU presided a global online summit to lift coronavirus research, and secured deposits of $8bn (£6.5bn) from around 40 countries and donors. The funding is aimed at developing a vaccine and treatments for Covid-19.
The United Kingdom co-hosted the following summit but Russia and the US did not join.
Olivier Bogillot, Sanofi’s chief in France, said “the goal was to have a vaccine available to the US as well as France and Europe at the same time”.
“We are using an existing technology that was designed for influenza, and we’re applying it to the new virus that causes Covid-19 disease”, says Sanofi’s head of vaccine research, John Shiver.
The company also added “will contribute its adjuvant technology, an ingredient added to enhance the immune response, reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose and improve the chances of delivering an effective vaccine that can be manufactured at scale”.
The vaccine is expected to arrive for clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and to be accessible by the second half of 2021.
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