AstraZeneca must show that it will not benefit from COVID-19

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca must ensure it will not benefit from a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday, calling on the company to disclose its supply contracts.

The UK company said on Monday that the COVID-19 vaccine was 70% effective in pivotal trials and could be as effective as 90%, making the world’s fight against the global epidemic a third new weapon that could be produced more cheaply, it can be more easily distributed and expanded faster than its rivals.

AstraZeneca said it will not profit from selling its vaccine while COVID-19 is a pandemic. His candidate was priced at about $ 3 per dose, compared to at least four times the other candidates.

“MSF welcomes AstraZeneca’s commitment to sell the vaccine at a” non-profit “price at the time of the epidemic, but the reality is that it is an empty promise unless we can substantiate these important claims with data,” said Roz Scourse, medical group MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders.

The organization urged AstraZeneca to disclose the contracts it signed with its governments for its vaccine and said there could be clauses limiting the price until the company declares the end of the health emergency, which could even occur in July.

AstraZeneca said it is seeking an international consensus in the event that the pandemic phase of COVID-19 is over, and not on a specific date.

“From the beginning, AstraZeneca’s approach has been to treat vaccine development as a response to a global public health emergency, not as a commercial opportunity,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said.

“We will continue to work in this public spirit and we will seek expert guidance, including from global organizations, on when we can say that the epidemic is behind us.”

According to the GAVI Vaccine Association, Monday’s efficacy data was “positive news for vulnerable groups on the COVAX vision of equal access”.

He said hundreds of millions of doses were provided on behalf of COVAX, a procurement system led by the World Health Organization to ensure rapid and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

(Report by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; additional report by Alistair Smout; edited by Mark Potter and Barbara Lewis)