Switzerland has signed new contracts for covid vaccines

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The Confederation has signed three new contracts to ensure Switzerland’s supply of covid vaccines, the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) said on Wednesday. These agreements bring the number of manufacturers ordered by the authorities to five, bringing total doses from around 15 million to over 32 million.

The American company Moderna, whose vaccine was authorized by Swissmedic on January 12, has an order for 6 million additional doses in addition to the 7.5 million already negotiated. This second contract allows Moderna to postpone part of the deliveries to the first half of 2022 only (if necessary).

The other two contracts relate to vaccines still in phase III of development, which corresponds to the large-scale efficacy test. If they prove their worth, they will still have to obtain a marketing authorization from the regulatory authority for therapeutic products Swissmedic.

Our follow-up of Wednesday: [En continu] Federal Council extends free vaccines to border caregivers and diplomats

A third technology

After Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTec and AstraZeneca, the German company CureVac and the American Novavax have therefore joined the list of suppliers in Switzerland. The latter’s preliminary contract allows the Confederation to add a third vaccination technology to its program: Novavax is working on a vaccine containing the proteins point SARS-CoV-2, which allows it to infect cells in the body. The production of antibodies against covid is triggered by the recognition of these proteins by the immune system.

Switzerland already had viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca) and using messenger RNA (Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech). The solution developed by CureVac also works with nucleic acids. According to the FOPH press release, the German pharma could deliver its doses by the second quarter of 2021. For the production of this vaccine, it turned to the German giant Bayer, but CureVac also announced an alliance on Wednesday with the British laboratory GlaxoSmithKline to develop a vaccine against the new variants.

Participation in the Covax initiative

With these new contracts, the FOPH believes that Switzerland should have sufficient doses even in the event of delivery failure, but indicates that the Confederation continues to prospect with other manufacturers. The amount of the contracts was not disclosed.

The authorities also recall Switzerland’s participation in the international Covax initiative, the plan of which was unveiled this Wednesday in Geneva. It plans to deliver nearly 340 million doses to more than 130 countries by the end of June, to allow developing countries to access vaccines.

This program allows Switzerland to have access to additional doses covering up to 20% of its population, but it is among the sixty rich countries, which will not receive a vaccine under the program until July.

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