On Wednesday, President Trump announced a new $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech that would distribute an initial 100 million doses of a new coronavirus vaccine if the treatments are deemed safe and effective. According to CNBC reports, the doses could be distributed in the last days of July, and the U.S. could buy another 500 million additional doses under the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” effort to identify and distribute a vaccine quickly.
Germany-based BioNTech and Pfizer, which are jointly developing four potential vaccines, announced the deal earlier in the day that will give the U.S. 100 million doses of their potential vaccine if it proves safe and effective. Under the agreement, the U.S. can buy 500 million additional doses, the Department of Health and Human Services said.
The deal was the largest deal so far to secure the nation’s supply of coronavirus vaccine doses.
“This is another crucial step and our effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a vaccine in record-breaking time, really a very small fraction of the time based on previous schedules,” Trump said.
The companies had hoped to begin a large trial of the vaccine “later this month” with 30,000 participants. A not-yet-peer-reviewed study was released earlier this week that indicated the potential vaccine was safe in a small trial of 60 healthy patients in Germany according to a statement. from the companies. Patients exhibited an immune response and “a high-level of T-cell responses against the novel coronavirus.”
Trump called the deal historic and noted that the vaccine may ultimately serve as a cure to the patients suffering with coronavirus.
“We’ll see what happens but that would be great, if we could just go into the hospital and just cure people and we’re at a position where we’re actually able to a certain extent with what we have right now and we think in a very short period of time we’ll be able to do that,” he added.