The European Commission (EC) has acquired another 150 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) and holds an option to buy other Covid-19 vaccine candidates developed by the company.

The latest contract takes the total doses procured by the EC to 460 million.

According to the agreement, Moderna will start delivering the Covid-19 variant booster vaccine candidate to the EU next year on obtaining regulatory approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said: “We appreciate the collaboration with the European Commission for these additional doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, which could be used for primary vaccination, including of children, or possibly as a booster if that becomes necessary to continue to defeat the pandemic.

“We are encouraged by the initial booster data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against current variants.”

The development comes after Moderna received the EMA’s committee for human medicines approval for a new production facility in Monts, France, to manufacture the vaccine.

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According to preliminary results from a Phase II study in the US, a single 50µg dose of the Covid-19 vaccine or the strain-matched variant vaccine, mRNA-1273.351, administered as a booster to vaccinated people increased neutralising antibody titer responses against SARS-CoV-2.

These neutralising antibody titer responses were also observed against South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variants of concern.

A booster dose with mRNA-1273.351 offered greater neutralising antibody titers against B.1.351 as compared to a booster dose of the currently authorised Covid-19 vaccine, the company noted.

Last week, Moderna received a $3.3bn modification to its vaccine delivery contract with the US Government to supply 200 million filled drug production doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.

Separately, Novartis has agreed to produce more than 50 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine this year at its fill-and-finish site at Stein in Switzerland, Reuters reported.