The UK has added a further 90m doses of coronavirus vaccine to its stockpile.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced that it has ordered 60m doses of a vaccine from the US biotech company Novavax, and 30m doses of another from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Company, which is based in Belgium and owned by Johnson and Johnson.
The addition of the two vaccines brings the country’s potential reserve to 340m doses across six experimental vaccines. The government has said both vaccines could be delivered to the UK by mid 2021 if they prove safe and successful in clinical trials.
Like the Oxford vaccine, which is in phase three clinical trials, Janssen’s is an adenovirus vaccine, while Novavax’s is a protein adjuvant vaccine – the same approach as taken by GSK/Sanofi Pasteur, with whom the UK government has also placed an order for 60m doses.
“The government’s strategy to build a portfolio of promising vaccine candidates will ensure we have the best chance possible of finding one that works,” said the business secretary, Alok Sharma. “Today’s agreements will not only benefit people in the UK, but will ensure fair and equitable access of a vaccine around the world, potentially protecting hundreds of millions of lives.”