US looking to procure ‘adapted’ vaccines

Pending approval from regulators, the US government will buy jabs specially ‘adapted’ to the Covid-19 Omicron strain, Pfizer said

US health officials are set to purchase more than $3 billion in additional coronavirus vaccines from pharma giant Pfizer, which noted the sale could include a new immunization designed to protect against the Omicron variant currently under review by federal regulators. 

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced the latest vaccine deal on Wednesday afternoon, stating that they would ship 105 million doses in exchange for $3.2 billion, with contract options for another 195 million shots should the government agree to exercise them.

“This agreement will provide additional doses for US residents and help cope with the next Covid-19 wave,” said BioNTech executive Sean Marett, adding that “Pending regulatory authorization, it will also include an Omicron-adapted vaccine, which we believe is important to address the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.”

READ MORE: Pfizer vaccine boosters approved for younger age group

The firms said they provided the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “pivotal data” on the “safety” and “tolerability” of two Omicron-adapted vaccine candidates last weekend, pointing to “positive” results in lab studies. Even before receiving approval, they have already started manufacturing doses of both candidates “at risk” in order to “begin deliveries rapidly upon authorization.”

According to data gathered by UNICEF, the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is among the most widely used immunizations against the coronavirus and has been approved by some 111 nations. The vaccine has been a windfall for the pharma firms, becoming one of the most lucrative products in modern history and helping to double Pfizer’s yearly revenue between 2020 and 2021.

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