Australia's CSL agrees to manufacture two COVID-19 vaccine candidates

(Reuters) - Pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd said on Monday it had agreed to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University if trials prove successful, with doses for Australia expected by early 2021.

The company also said it had agreed with the Australian government to manufacture an alternative potential vaccine it is developing with the University of Queensland (UQ), with first doses of that vaccine expected by mid-2021.

The supply deals come as Australia grapples with a second wave of infections in Victoria state. Australia has recorded more than 26,000 infections and 753 deaths.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce the government's agreements for the supply of both vaccine candidates with the respective companies later Monday.

CSL expects to manufacture about 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, backed by government funding, it said in a statement.

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AstraZeneca’s candidate is seen as a frontrunner in a global race to deliver an effective coronavirus vaccine.

Under its agreement with the government, CSL expects to supply 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine by mid-2021 if trials are successful. The potential vaccine is currently in the Phase 1 stage of clinical trials.

(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Stephen Coates)

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