Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Australia close to deal to produce Covid-19 vaccine

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) – Australia said it is close to reaching a deal to produce a Covid-19 vaccine, as the country struggles to contain spiralling infections in Victoria, a state that has seen renewed lockdown measures.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday (Aug 16) that the Australian government is in advanced negotiations with different companies. Victoria state reported 279 new infections in the past 24 hours and 16 deaths.

Mr Hunt told both Sky News and The Sunday Telegraph he was genuinely optimistic that a vaccine would be internationally available by next year.

The federal government is in the final stages of negotiations with a major vaccine manufacturer, believed to be British drugmaker AstraZeneca, to produce doses of the vaccine in Australia, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

A final proposal is expected to go before the Expenditure Review Committee within days and sources are confident a contract will be signed within a fortnight, The Sunday Telegraph said.

The government wants to use local facilities to produce the vaccine, with as many as 30 potential sites being reviewed, according to the newspaper.

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