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The Catalan-developed coronavirus vaccine Hipra has achieved success at the European Union, after Brussels announced that it is ordering 250 million doses of this drug against Covid-19 for next autumn. The Health Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) of the European Commission has signed a contract for the joint acquisition of the medicine in which fourteen member states are to take part, despite the fact that the Catalan vaccine is still pending approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The community executive, however, has not yet announced the price of the operation.

The European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, recalled that, "with Covid-19 infections on the rise in Europe, we must ensure maximum preparedness as we approach the autumn and winter months". "The Hipra vaccine adds one more option to complement our extensive portfolio of vaccines for our member states and citizens. An increase in vaccination and boosting is critical in the coming months. We are working tirelessly to ensure that there are vaccines available to everyone", commented Kyriakides in a statement released this Tuesday.

The Catalan vaccine is thus added to the vaccine portfolio of the EU bloc, which already includes AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Janssen, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Valneva. It is with reference to this broad portfolio that Brussels states that "4.2 billion doses have been secured under the EU vaccine strategy". "This diversified vaccine portfolio will ensure that Europe continues to be well prepared for Covid-19 vaccination, using vaccines that have been proven to be safe and effective," adds the statement. In addition, it indicates that "participating countries could decide to give the vaccines to low- and middle-income countries or redirect them to other European countries."

Hipra's drug is a bivalent recombinant protein vaccine, which has been under ongoing EMA review since March and is being developed as a booster dose for previously immunized people aged 16 and over. It is stored at a refrigerated temperature between 2 and 8°C, which facilitates its distribution throughout Europe and the world. It is expected to receive authorization before this autumn. Once this is granted, the participating countries will be able to buy it through the framework contract.

Pedro Sánchez speaks of "Catalan and Spanish" industry

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez has celebrated the agreement between the European Commission and Hipra. "It's very good news. It's a contract that demonstrates the strength of innovation and the pharmaceutical industry in our country, and also the public-private collaboration we've developed with this Catalan and Spanish industry, which has borne fruit", stressed the Spanish PM in an appearance after being received by king Felipe VI at the Almudaina palace in Palma (Mallorca).

Sánchez insisted on expressing his "satisfaction". "We must not forget that we are still suffering from the pandemic and I think it is a magnificent proof of how well the collaboration between a pharmaceutical company and the general administration of the state can work in a new industrial policy that makes Spain a reference not only for the level of vaccination but to provide our own solution to serve the European population in the face of Covid variants", he concluded.