EU casts weight behind Pfizer / BioNTech and new technologies


Brussels — In a bitter blame on pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Wednesday, the European Union announced plans to negotiate a major contract extension for Pfizer / BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, with blocks in 27 countries pandemic.

“We need to focus on technologies that have proven their value,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission. She also announced that Pfizer in the US and BioNTech in Germany will provide the EU with an additional 50 million doses in the second quarter of this year to make up for the stagnation in AstraZeneca’s delivery.

In contrast to the often criticized British-Swedish company, Von der Reyen said Pfizer / BioNTech “has been proven to be a trusted partner.” It fulfills that commitment and meets our needs. This is in the immediate interest of EU citizens. “

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a statement after the Commission's universities meet at EU headquarters in Brussels
The European Commission President Ursula von der Reyen issued a statement after the Commission’s universities met at EU headquarters in Brussels on April 14, 2021. (John Thys / Pool via AP)

Denmark, which is exacerbating AstraZeneca’s problems, decided not to resume use of the vaccine on Wednesday after putting the vaccine on hold last month after some recipients reported rare blood clots. So far, most of the shots made in Scandinavian countries have been Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson’s jab, which uses the same basic technology as AstraZeneca, ran into problems this week when US regulators recommended a “pause” to manage Johnson & Johnson’s shots. Delivery in the EU has been suspended.

AstraZeneca was supposed to be the flagship of this year’s EU vaccine drive. This is a cheap and easy-to-transport shot to break the pandemic retreat. Still, the EU received only 30 million of the 120 million promised doses in the first quarter and 70 million in the second quarter of the expected 180 million doses. He said it would only be given once.

Due to its shortage, the EU, despite being a major producer and exporter of vaccines, is under overwhelming pressure because it cannot be vaccinated even near the levels of the United Kingdom and the United States. I am.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a statement after the Commission's universities meet at EU headquarters in Brussels
The European Commission President Ursula von der Reyen issued a statement after the Commission’s universities met at EU headquarters in Brussels on April 14, 2021. (John Thys / Pool via AP)

According to the Our World in Data site, 47.5% of people in the UK receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 36.6% in the United States and 16.4% in the EU.

Today, Pfizer / BioNTech has the potential to be the key to overcoming a continental pandemic.

With 200 million doses already scheduled by Pfizer / BioNTech this quarter, 50 million EU countries are addressing supply delays and concerns about rare blood clots that may be associated with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. We especially welcome additional doses.

Von der Leyen said the EU will begin negotiations to purchase 1.8 billion Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines by 2023.

“Not only the production of vaccines, but all the essential ingredients need to be based in the EU,” said Von der Leyen.

The European Commission currently has a portfolio of 2.3 billion doses from half a dozen companies and is negotiating more contracts.

Von der Leyen has shown complete confidence in the technology used in the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. This is different from the technology behind the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

The active ingredient in Pfizer / BioNTech Shots is messenger RNA, or mRNA, which contains instructions for human cells to build a harmless portion of the coronavirus called the spike protein. The human immune system recognizes peplomer as a foreign body and allows it to initiate a response to the virus upon infection.

AstraZeneca is made of a cold virus that allows the peplomer gene to sneak into the body. This is a very different form of manufacture. Living cells in a large bioreactor multiply the cold virus and extract and purify it.

Von der Leyen said Europe needs technology that can boost immunity, tackle new variants, and generate shots quickly and in large numbers. “The mRNA vaccine is a good example,” she said.

Planned negotiations with Pfizer left in the midst of what the EU would do with the new deal with AstraZeneca. “Other contracts with other companies may continue,” said Von der Reyen.

According to Raf Casert.

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