Trump Administration Selects Five Coronavirus Vaccine Candidates as Finalists - (The New York Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Senior officials say the Trump administration has selected five companies as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, reported The New York Times.

  • The companies include Moderna, whose vaccine Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said would enter into the final phase of clinical trials next month, as well as the combination of AstraZeneca and Oxford University, on a similar schedule.

  • In addition, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Pfizer, each is taking a somewhat different approach, have also been selected.

  • Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the Oxford-AstraZeneca group have already received a total of $2.2 billion in federal funding to support their vaccine programs.

  • Their selection as finalists, along with Merck and Pfizer, will give all five companies access to additional government money, help in running clinical trials and financial and logistical support for a manufacturing base that is being built even before it is clear which if any of the vaccines in development will work, the news source said.

  • More funding is likely to be announced soon, officials said. Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services added $628 million to a contract with Emergent BioSolutions to expand development of vaccine manufacturing capacity.

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