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US to Pay Johnson and Johnson $1 Billion for COVID-19 Vaccine

By VOA News August 05, 2020

The U.S. has agreed to pay Johnson and Johnson more than $1 billion to create 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in a deal announced Wednesday by the company.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is in its experimental phase, currently using early-stage human trials in the U.S. and Belgium. Late-stage human trials of the vaccine are scheduled for September, according to Johnson and Johnson's Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels.

"We are scaling up production in the U.S. and worldwide to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for emergency use," said Stoffels.

As part of the agreed-upon deal, the U.S. can order up to 200 million additional doses.

The U.S. already has given the company $456 million to work on creating a vaccine. Johnson and Johnson's goal is to deliver more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine by 2021.

The vaccine the company is working on, Ad26.COV2.S, uses the same technology previously used by the company for its experimental Ebola vaccine, which was used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019.

If Johnson and Johnson produces the vaccine, it will deliver it to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis. The vaccine will be available after approval for emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

So far, this is Johnson and Johnson's first deal to provide doses of its potential vaccine to a country, although the company also is in talks with the European Union.

In addition, a few other companies also have made deals with the U.S. for potential COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. recently announced a deal with drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for up to $2.1 billion for 100 million doses of a vaccine.

In late July, deals between the U.S. and Pfizer and BioNTech were announced, as well, totaling $1.95 million for 100 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

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