Thursday June 10, 2021
Order from Biontech / Pfizer
USA buy 500 million vaccine doses – for other countries
In the USA, more than 140 million people already have full immune protection against Covid-19. Most other countries in the world can only dream of such a vaccination quota. With a donation, the United States now wants to at least remedy the situation.
Ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, the US government promises to donate 500 million doses of vaccine to dozens of poor countries around the world. According to the White House, Pfizer / Biontech doses of the vaccine will be distributed to 92 low and middle-income countries as well as the African Union. 200 million cans are to be delivered between August and the end of the year, the remaining 300 million by June 2022.
US President Joe Biden will announce the “historic step” later in the day and call on other democracies to support the global supply of vaccines. At the summit, the G7 countries also want to adopt a health declaration in order to be able to take better action against future virus outbreaks. In a draft, the G7 group commits itself to “strengthening the collective defenses in order to better prevent future pandemics, to detect them, to react to them and to recover from them through effective multilateral action and a strengthened global health system”.
“Global solutions are required,” it said. The focus is to be on a “reformed” World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to climate protection, the corona pandemic is one of the central topics of the meeting of heads of state and government from the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan as well as EU representatives, which takes place from Friday to Sunday in Cornwall. The summit of the major industrial countries is intended to be a demonstration of unity between the world’s leading democratic nations. The host Great Britain has therefore also invited South Korea, South Africa, Australia and India.
The White House said the vaccine donation will help fuel the global fight against the pandemic. It will also form the basis for further measures that will be announced in the coming days. “President Biden has made it clear that borders cannot stop this pandemic and has promised that our nation will be the vaccine arsenal,” it said.
US spend billions on experimental drug
In the USA, more than 171.7 million of the approximately 330 million inhabitants have already received at least one vaccine dose. More than 140.4 million people are fully vaccinated. The US government has so far promised to share 80 million vaccine doses with other states by the end of June. Last week the White House released details on the distribution of the first 25 million cans. At least 75 percent of these, just under 19 million doses, should therefore be given through the Covax vaccination program. The US government intends to sell the remaining 25 percent, around 6 million cans, directly to countries such as neighboring Canada and Mexico as well as India and South Korea.
For its own population, the US government has now also signed a multi-billion dollar preliminary contract with the US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. (MSD) to purchase an experimental corona drug. If the molnupiravir pill developed by MSD against Covid-19 diseases receives emergency or full approval by the US authorities, the US would order 1.7 million treatment units of the drug, announced the Department of Health in Washington. Molnupiravir is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. According to MSD – not to be confused with the German Merck KGaA – the USA will pay around 1.2 billion dollars (almost one billion euros) for the 1.7 million treatment units of molnupiravir if the contract is finally concluded.
In the current clinical trial phase, the drug is used in 1,850 people. The study results are expected in autumn. Treatment with molnupiravir, which MSD is jointly developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, lasts five days. The drug is a so-called polymerase inhibitor. Such drugs block a specific enzyme that viruses need to reproduce their DNA. Preliminary results of the 2a test phase with molnupiravir had shown that the viral load in corona patients had reduced significantly by the fifth day of treatment. In the control group, this was only the case for around a quarter of the test persons. Molnupiravir has also been tested in clinical trials against viral diseases such as influenza and Ebola, but is not approved for these diseases.