Switzerland has signed an agreement with the American company Moderna to buy 4.5 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is moving into phase 3 testing, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
FOPH said the move is designed to ensure Switzerland has rapid access to the vaccine once it has been approved.
Switzerland’s federal government is discussing vaccine plans with a number of companies and has earmarked CHF 300 million to buy vaccines when they are approved.
If Moderna’s vaccine passes the next round of testing and is approved in Switzerland, the federal government will have access to 4.5 million doses, enough to vaccinate 2.25 million people – the vaccine is taken in two doses.
FOPH did not mention the potential cost of the vaccine. However, Moderna said on Wednesday that smaller volume agreements for its vaccine have been priced in the range of US$32 to US$37 per dose, according to Reuters. This would price a course of the vaccine at between US$64 and US$74 per person.
On 27 July 2020, Moderna started the process of recruiting the approximately 30,000 people it needs to run the next round of clinical trials.
Moderna started its work on a Covid-19 vaccine in January 2020 with work on viral gene sequencing. This work was followed by phase 1 trials. Recruitment for these trials started at the end of March 2020 – click here for a full trial and development timeline.
Moderna’s vaccine uses mRNA, which produce instructions that direct cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.