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Drug firm ready to supply virus vaccine by September

DRUGS giant AstraZeneca has said it could supply up to one billion doses of a potential virus vaccine by autumn.

It has so far secured deals to deliver 400million doses of the drug, which will be known as AZD1222, and which it is developing with Oxford University. And it aims to seal more agreements in the coming months.

Initial trials are still under way but the firm is committed to ‘ensuring the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine’ by September.

Thanking the UK and US governments ‘for their substantial support to accelerate the development and production of the vaccine’, it said the pandemic was a ‘global tragedy’ and ‘a challenge for all of humanity’. Chief executive Pascal Soriot added: ‘We need to defeat the virus together or it will continue to inflict huge personal suffering and leave long-lasting economic and social scars in every country around the world.

‘We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale.

‘We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available.’

Health secretary Matt Hancock this week said up to 30million doses could be available for the UK by autumn if the vaccine proves successful.