AstraZeneca has closed an agreement with the European Commission (EC) to supply up to 400 million doses of its investigational Covid-19 vaccine, dubbed AZD1222.

The current supply agreement follows the company’s previous agreement with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), led by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, to supply 400 million doses of its AZD1222 to Europe.

Also, the agreement is said to enable the EU member states to procure the vaccine at no profit, in a justifiable manner during the pandemic and redirect the excess doses to other European countries.

AstraZeneca chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said: “This first vaccine agreement with the European Commission will ensure that millions of Europeans have access to the AZD1222 vaccine following its approval.

“With production in our European supply chain soon to be started, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly, with the first doses to be delivered by the end of 2020.

“I would like to thank the entire European Commission, and especially the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, for their swift response in ensuring Europeans may soon be protected with a vaccine against this deadly virus, enabling our global society and economy to rebuild.”

AZD1222 was well tolerated and showed superior immune responses in Phase 1/2 clinical trial

Initially called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, AZD1222 was developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, and its spin-out company Vaccitech, in collaboration with the Oxford Vaccine Group, and was licensed by AstraZeneca in May 2020.

The vaccine has been developed by using a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold (adenovirus) virus that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

The vaccination would produce the surface spike protein and prepares the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if the virus infects the body after the vaccination.

AstraZeneca said that the AZD1222 is being evaluated in various global clinical development programmes, including late-stage Phase 2/3 trials being conducted in the UK and Brazil, a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in South Africa, and other studies planned in the US, Japan and Russia.

In July 2020, the company has released interim results from the Phase 1/2 COV001 clinical trial, which enrolled 1,077 healthy adult participants, aged between 18 and 55 years, to evaluate the single dose of AZD1222 compared to meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenACWY.

In the Phase 1/2 COV001 clinical trial, AZD1222 was tolerated with no early safety concerns and demonstrated superior immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in all the participants.

AstraZeneca has already agreed with the UK, the US, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply 700 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine.