France resists idea of US getting vaccine first from drug giant Sanofi

France resists idea of US getting vaccine first from drug giant Sanofi
Sanofi's HQ is in Paris and the firm has received French state tax breaks. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: French drug giant Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said that “the US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk”. Now the Deputy Finance Minister of the country Agnès Pannier-Runacher warned it would be “unacceptable” for Sanofi to give priority to the US market if it develops a Covid-19 vaccine.

Many labs across the world are working hard to find a vaccine for Covid-19, but nothing remarkable has found yet.

Vaccines usually take years to develop, but as coronavirus has massive impact on the world, researchers making significant focuses to make a vaccine anyhow and as quickly as possible.

Ms Pannier-Runacher told France’s Sud Radio: “For us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access to such and such a country for financial reasons.”

Earlier this month, the European Union chaired a global online summit to boost coronavirus research and secured pledges of $8bn (£6.5bn) from some 40 countries and donors. The funding is aimed at developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

The UK co-hosted the summit but Russian and the US did not take part. On Thursday, the EU insisted that all countries should get equal access to a vaccine.

European Commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker said: “The vaccine against Covid-19 should be a global public good and its access needs to be equitable and universal.”

International collaboration

US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda) party funded Sanofi’s Covid-19 vaccine research.

But in recent years, Sanofi has received tens of millions of euros in tax credits from the French government to help its research.

Sanofi’s chief in France, Olivier Bogillot, said on Thursday that “the goal is to have this vaccine available to the US as well as France and Europe at the same time”.

He said while speaking on French news channel BFMTV, that would only be possible “if Europeans work as quickly as the Americans”, and added that the US government had pledged to spend “several hundreds of millions of euros”.

Last month Sanofi also teamed up with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to work on a vaccine, though any trials of vaccine have not yet started.

John Shiver, Sanofi’s head of vaccine research, says “we are using an existing technology that was designed for influenza, and we’re applying it to the new virus that causes Covid-19 disease”.

The candidate vaccine is expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and to be available by the second half of 2021.

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