Covid-19 roundup: US buys 50M Pfizer pediatric doses; Vir and GSK publish mAb data in NEJM
More vaccine doses are on the way as pediatric vaccines could begin to roll out as early as next week.
The US on Thursday purchased 50 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, as part of efforts to support preparedness for all pediatric vaccinations, including for children under 5 years of age, pending authorization. The companies said they expect to deliver the doses by April 30, 2022. Initial data on the vaccine for the youngest kids, down to 6 months, are expected as soon as the fourth quarter of this year or early first quarter 2022.
The cost of these 50 million doses was not initially made available, although the cost of the Pfizer vaccines has steadily risen for the US. The government initially paid $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses (about $19.50 per dose) in July 2020, but in July 2021 paid $24 a dose for 200 million more doses.
This most recent purchase of 50 million doses is the final purchase option under the existing U.S. supply agreement with the companies, they said, bringing the total number of Pfizer vaccine doses secured under the agreement since the start of the pandemic to 600 million. Separately, the companies also provided 1 billion doses to the US government at a not-for-profit price for donation to low- and lower-middle-income countries.
In total, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture 3 billion doses worldwide in 2021, and 4 billion doses next year.
Vir and GSK unveil PhIII mAb findings in NEJM
Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday evening published in the New England Journal of Medicine their Phase III trial results for their recently authorized monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19, which has been shown to reduce the risk of disease progression in high-risk patients with mild-to-moderate disease.
The placebo-controlled trial of 583 patients showed that 3 patients (1%) in the sotrovimab group, versus 21 patients (7%) in the placebo group, had disease progression leading to hospitalization or death (relative risk reduction, 85%; 97.24% confidence interval, 44 to 96; P=0.002).
Authorized by the FDA in May, the companies recently transitioned from distributing the treatment themselves, to let the US government take over. About 100,000 doses of sotrovimab have been distributed in the US so far, and Vir said in an SEC filing that binding agreements have been received for the sale of more than 420,000 doses of sotrovimab worldwide.