Drugmakers partnered with the U.S. government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said Monday.
“If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer,” the official, who declined to be identified, said.
He added the administration is already working with companies to equip and outfit manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.
The Trump administration has helped finance the development of four COVID-19 vaccines so far though its Operation Warp Speed Program.
So far, the U.S. government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over $1 billion to companies including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.
It has also signed a $450 million contract with last month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus.
The “slate is not closed” for additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, the senior administration official said.
The goal is to produce more than 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021, CNBC reported. Though the manufacturing process already has started, it is unclear which vaccine, if any, will work, a senior Trump administration official said during Monday’s call.
But equipment already is being bought and manufacturing sites are being secured, he said, and raw materials, in some cases, are being acquired.
The Trump White House said last month the vaccine will be free to anyone who cannot afford it.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.