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EU Near Deal with Moderna on Coronavirus Vaccine

A researcher works in a lab run by Moderna Inc, in an undated still image from video.

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen announced Tuesday the European Union has reached a deal with U.S. biotech company Moderna for 160 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Last week, Moderna said interim data from late-stage clinical trials of its experimental vaccine showed it to be 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Von der Leyen, speaking to reporters in Brussels, said a deal is expected to be signed Wednesday, the sixth such agreement the EU’s executive commission has reached with makers of potential vaccines, giving the EU a potential stock of nearly 2 billion shots.

The EU has previously made deals for potential vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac. The regional alliance reports it is also in talks with U.S. firm Novavax for a possible additional deal.

Von der Leyen has said that the region’s medical regulatory body, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) may give approval next month for the most promising vaccines from companies that have already submitted data from clinical trials.

U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech have already been working with the EMA regarding their vaccine candidate. Pfizer and BioNtech also applied last week with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization.

They say they could begin distribution of their vaccine “within hours” of approval.