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South Korea Inks COVID-19 Vaccine Deal With AstraZeneca: Reuters

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South Korea Inks COVID-19 Vaccine Deal With AstraZeneca: Reuters

South Korean government officials and specific vaccine manufacturing pharma companies have agreed upon a memorandum of understanding for the supply of experimental COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters said based on reports from local media outlets.

AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) and Oxford University have jointly created AZD1222, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has developed Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S, whereas Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) have co-developed mRNA vaccine.

What Happened: Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo and news agency Yonhap said the health authorities have signed a contract with AstraZeneca on Nov. 27 and are in the final advanced stages of agreement with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) clarified that it would announce its official position only after negotiations are finalized, Reuters said.

Reuters quoted one such comment from an official saying that, “The AstraZeneca deal has been done, and a memorandum of understanding was reached with both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. But further negotiations are needed to finalize the amount of supplies and the timing of shipment.”

The KDCA has allocated $157 million to procure 60 million doses, which could vaccinate three-fifths of the country’s population by the second quarter of next year. It has also secured 20 million doses from the WHO’s co-led vaccine allocation facility, COVAX.

Why Does It Matter: A Statnews publication estimates a 70% effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 AZD1222, whereas competing pharma company Pfizer’s vaccine mRNA has a 75% efficacy rate.

South Korea is witnessing a resurgence of coronavirus cases. According to a Reuters report last week, the third wave of coronavirus cases is higher than the number of infections recorded since Mar. 6. 

Price Action: AZN shares are trading 0.52% lower at $53.11 in the pre-market session on the last check Thursday.

 

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