Moderna Inc is planning to price its coronavirus vaccine at $50 to $60 per course, at least $11 more than another vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, the Financial Times reported on July 28, citing unnamed sources.
Moderna’s proposed price for a two-dose course sold to governments compares with $39 for two doses under a deal that Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech struck with the U.S. government.
Industry analysts said Pfizer and BioNTech’s $2 billion deal to cover 50 million patients, which is contingent on an approvable product, would likely pressure other manufacturers to set similar prices.
Moderna’s proposed price would apply to the United States and other high-income countries, according to the report.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
A Moderna spokesperson said the company was in discussions with governments about potential supply of the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, but did not provide any details on pricing “given the confidential nature of the discussions and contracts.”
The final price for Moderna’s COVID vaccine has yet to be determined, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
Pfizer, Moderna and Merck & Co have said they plan to sell their vaccines at a profit, while some drugmakers, including Johnson & Johnson have announced plans to price their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis.
Also read: Some drug makers say they plan to profit from coronavirus vaccine
AstraZeneca Plc agreed to provide the United States 300 million doses of its potential vaccine in exchange for $1.2 billion in upfront funding, which works out to $4 per dose.
The U.S. government has provided Moderna with nearly $1 billion in funding to support its research and development efforts for its potential COVID-19 vaccine.
The funding is part of “Operation Warp Speed,” an initiative by the Trump administration to hasten the production of an inoculation for COVID-19, which has so far killed around 650,000 people worldwide.
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