$1 billion for new Covid vaccines, $300 million for new antibodies to protect the vulnerable

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The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it will allocate $1 billion for mid-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials to begin this fall, $300 million to develop a new monoclonal antibody to protect people who are immunocompromised, and $100 million to explore new technologies to help prevent the disease. and treat infection.

The administration said it plans to spend $5 billion on it Next generation project To help develop new tools to protect against the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These are the first specific allocations of this much money.

Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary of State for Preparedness and Response, said at a news conference that the $1 billion will be divided among four smaller biotech companies that may struggle to afford the large cost of a clinical trial that compares their new vaccines to those currently available. With reporters on Tuesday.

The government hasn’t yet chosen which vaccine candidates it will support from each company, so O’Connell said it can’t yet provide more details about each.

The companies are ICON Government and Public Health Solutions Inc., of Hinckley, Ohio; Pharm-Olam LLC, based in Houston; Technical Resources International (TRI) of Bethesda, Maryland; and Rho Federal Systems Inc., based in Durham, North Carolina.

These trials are scheduled to begin this winter.

She said the monoclonal antibody trial is expected to begin this fall. With changes in the virus, previous monoclonal antibodies, including those that protected against future infection for up to six months, no longer work. The new monoclonal, namely It is being developed by Regeneron CorporationIt will replace this antibody and will be intended to prevent infection in people with weakened immune systems and for whom vaccines have limited efficacy.

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Expanding the country’s Covid medicine cabinet

O’Connell said the combination of new vaccines and antibodies would “expand the nation’s medicine cabinet…and strengthen us to take on whatever COVID-19 brings next.”

Another $100 million will go to Global Health Investment Corp., the nonprofit organization that manages the investment portfolio of the government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The goal will be to expand investments in new technologies.

A final sum of $10 million has been allocated to Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABS) to run a competition through BlueKnight, a partnership between BARDA and JLABS.

O’Connell said the administration is meeting with other companies and will announce more funding allocations before the end of the government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said at the briefing that the purpose of Project NextGen is to “make sure we are prepared for anything that comes around the corner.” “We don’t want to wait around the corner to find out what this is. NextGen is about helping us take this further.”

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Becerra has just returned from the G20 summit in India where he and his counterparts from 20 other countries met to begin developing a coordinated plan to prevent future pandemics.

Contact Karen Weintraub at

USA TODAY’s coverage of health and patient safety is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation, and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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