Valneva stops producing vaccines against Covid
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Valneva stops producing vaccines against Covid

It’s a blow to Valneva, the first French company to develop a vaccine against Covid-19: The European Union has just drastically reduced its doses, prompting biotech to suspend production.

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it has reduced its order to 1.25 million doses, far from the 60 million doses stipulated in the initial contract.

Amendment to the preliminary agreement.

In detail, the Commission signed an agreement with Valneva at the end of 2021 that states that member states can purchase approximately 27 million doses of its inactivated vaccine in 2022, with an additional 33 million doses in 2023. But, in mid-May, technology ambitions were swamped Vital by declaring its intention to end this system, in the context of a major global production.

After two months of procrastination, the European Union finally announced on Wednesday an “amendment to the preliminary agreement” allowing member states to purchase 1.25 million doses of the vaccine, which was licensed in June in the EU. For use as a primary series in adults between 18 and 50 years of age.

French disappointment

Another source of disappointment for Valneva, whose headquarters are in France (in Nantes): this country did not want to ask for it. The five countries that will receive serum doses in the coming weeks are Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Bulgaria.

We do not understand this decision. Especially since there are still four million people who are not vaccinated in France,” said Frank Grimaud, General Manager of Valneva, on Wednesday. “As a French company, we were hoping for more concrete support,” adds the manager. Due to a low volume of orders from member states, Valneva has suspended its production of vaccines against Covid-19 for the time being.

series of setbacks

“We can only maintain this program (…) if we get enough applications from countries in Europe or outside Europe,” Frank Grimaud emphasized. Biotech is giving itself until the end of the summer to find new applications to determine the future of its program.

Valneva’s serum, VLA2001, is the sixth vaccine approved in Europe, but the first to use traditional inactivated virus technology, which the biotech says could lure reluctant, unimmunized people to newer RNA technology. “Member states that want to receive this vaccine will receive the doses they need in August and September,” the commission said in a statement.

Valneva compounded the setbacks for a year: in September 2021, the British government, which had ordered 100 million doses of vaccines, terminated its contract, much to the disappointment of the company that caused its share price to plummet. However, the vaccine was approved in the UK in April. It is also authorized in the UAE and Bahrain, with a contract worth one million doses.

“new option”

European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides commented: “The Valneva vaccine adds a new option to the EU’s comprehensive range of vaccines and (…) offers the possibility for Member States that wish to offer it to their citizens.” “Increased vaccinations and reinforcements will be critical over the coming months to protect our citizens,” she added.

The other five vaccines approved in the European Union are the mRNA vaccines of the German-American duo Pfizer-BioNTech (2.4 billion doses purchased or reserved) and the American group Moderna (460 million); those of the Swedish-British laboratory AstraZeneca (400 million) and its American competitor Johnson & Johnson (400 million), which use a viral vector; And the Novavax vaccine (200 million), based on the so-called subproteomics technology, which has been in use for decades.

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