US to pay Pfizer $1.95 bn to produce millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer Inc. and German biotech firm BioNTech SE will get $1.95 billion from the US government to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 22 July 2020

US to pay Pfizer $1.95 bn to produce millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine

  • Pfizer and BioNTech are among a handful of companies that are racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19
  • Their vaccine candidate has shown promise in early-stage small studies in humans

BENGALURU: Pfizer Inc. and German biotech firm BioNTech SE will get $1.95 billion from the US government to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The agreement allows the US government to acquire an additional 500 million doses, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense said.
Pfizer will deliver the doses if the product receives Emergency Use Authorization or licensure from the US Food and Drug Administration, after completing demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial.
A vaccine is seen as crucial to tackle the pandemic and governments across the globe have signed deals with drugmakers to secure dosages of their vaccine candidates.
Pfizer and BioNTech are among a handful of companies that are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus. Their vaccine candidate has shown promise in early-stage small studies in humans.
Pfizer’s shares rose 4%, while BioNTech’s US-listed shares were up about 6% before the bell.


At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

Updated 37 min 25 sec ago

At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

  • The driver was arrested and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police tweeted
  • Two people have died, and 15 others had suffered serious injuries

BERLIN: At least two people including a child were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier, authorities said.
Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.
Police said several people had been killed, having earlier put the death toll at two, with more than 10 injured. The local newspaper, the Trierischer Volksfreund, put the death toll at four, including a child, but police did not confirm that figure.
"We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured," police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area was being questioned, police said.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe had rushed to the scene.
"We have a driver who ran amok in the city. We have two dead that we are certain of and up to 15 injured, some of them with the most severe injuries," he told public broadcaster SWR.
"I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead," he told a news conference, with tears stopping him from speaking further.
He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were "totally traumatised" and the street "looks a bit like after a war".
Leibe said he did not know the motive for the incident, which shocked residents of Germany's oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted an eyewitness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.
It reported that people screamed in panic when the car drove through the street.
Officers were scouring the area in search of evidence, backed by police dressed in flak jackets and carrying rifles. On the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.
Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.
In October 2019, a man opened fire on a synagogue in the city of Halle. After failing to get into the building he went on a rampage outside, killing two people.
In February this year a racist gunman killed nine migrants in Hanau near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself. Only about a week later, a local man ploughed his car into a carnival parade in the town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61.
Germany has tightened measures to fight the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants closed, but shops and schools are still open.
"What happened in Trier is shocking. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for the victims," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Twitter.