US reaches $1B deal for doses of potential Johnson & Johnson vaccine

US reaches $1B deal for doses of potential Johnson & Johnson vaccine
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The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a deal worth approximately $1 billion for the manufacturing of 100 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson that the federal government would then own. 

The move is the latest in a series of agreements the Trump administration has made with several companies making potential coronavirus vaccines. The goal, through the Operation Warp Speed program, is to make bets on a wide array of vaccine candidates with the hope that at least one and maybe more will end up proving safe and effective through clinical trials. 

The companies will begin manufacturing the doses even before the results are in to accelerate the process. 

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The Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently began phase one clinical trials, placing it behind some of the more advanced-stage potential vaccines, like those from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which have begun phase three trials. 

“With the portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration is increasing the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in a statement. 

Johnson & Johnson said its goal is to have 1 billion doses made available throughout 2021, if the vaccine proves to be safe and effective. 

“We are scaling up production in the U.S. and worldwide to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for emergency use," said Paul Stoffels, the company’s chief scientific officer.