Operation Warp Speed accelerates AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to be available beginning in October

HHS announced Wednesday that it is working with AstraZeneca to make available at least 300 million doses of an investigational coronavirus vaccine, aiming to deliver the first doses in October.

HHS announced Wednesday that it is working with AstraZeneca to make available at least 300 million doses of an investigational coronavirus vaccine, aiming to deliver the first doses in October. The agreement between the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and AstraZeneca, will accelerate the development and manufacturing of the vaccine candidate, known as AZD1222, to start Phase III clinical studies in the United States this summer. Under the partnership, BARDA can provide as much as $1.2 billion to support, in parallel, advanced clinical research, vaccine manufacturing technology transfer, process development, scaled-up manufacturing, and other development activities. To make the vaccine available, FDA would have to grant emergency use authorization or licensure. "This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed's work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. The vaccine, which was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca, is the fourth vaccine candidate to receive BARDA support for late-stage development and manufacturing.