Commission buys COVID vaccine from Spain’s HIPRA

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The European Commission has closed a deal for up to 250 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Spanish pharmaceutical company HIPRA, it announced Tuesday.

The vaccine is still being assessed. The European Medicines Agency in March started a rolling review of the shot, which is designed to protect against both the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus, and would be deployed as a booster.

The Commission said that 14 countries are participating in the joint procurement. If the vaccine is approved, they will be able to put in orders on the terms negotiated by the Commission. Those terms were not disclosed.

Unlike most widely used mRNA vaccines, HIPRA’s protein-based jab can be stored at relatively warm temperatures of between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, making it easier to handle. HIPRA makes veterinary medicines, but pivoted to the development of a protein-based vaccine against COVID-19 after the start of the pandemic.

While the vaccine awaits a final assessment, Spain’s IrsiCaixa research institute said in July that a number of studies indicate the vaccine is able to induce an antibody response protecting against all of the commonly circulating coronavirus variants.

“With COVID-19 infections on the rise in Europe, we need to ensure maximum preparedness as we head into the autumn and winter months,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “The HIPRA vaccine adds yet another option to complement our broad vaccine portfolio.”