• 2 billion doses of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine are due to be produced after pharma giant AstraZeneca struck two new deals to double the supply.
  • AstraZeneca partnered with the Serum Institute of India to supply doses to low-and-middle income countries. 400 million of these should be ready by the end of 2020.
  • There is still no guarantee the vaccine will work — but the company is pushing ahead with production anyway to shorten the timeline in case it does prove effective.
  • 300 million of the doses will be distributed through a $750 million agreement with two charities backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and WHO, among others.

A patient enrolled in a coronavirus vaccine clinical trial receives an injection, May 4, 2020. University of Maryland School of Medicine/AP Photo

The vaccine is being produced by AstraZeneca British drug maker, drawing on work by researchers from Oxford University.

It announced Thursday that it had signed agreements with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance to boost its supplies.

The company has committed to mass-producing the vaccine before it has been proved effective, an unusual step designed to compress the long timeline of vaccine production.

CEPI and Gavi are both charities supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, among numerous others. The $750 million agreement with CEPI and Gavi will support manufacturing, procurement and distribution for 300 million of the 2 billion doses.

The statement also said that AstraZeneca struck a licensing partnership with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, for 1 billion doses of the vaccine earmarked for low- and middle-income countries.

The deal includes “a commitment to provide 400 million of them by the end of 2020,” according to the statement.

The company had already announced the manufacture of 1 billion doses last month, according to the BBC.

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