MADRID – Health Minister Darias has been lobbying the European Commission since last month to include the Spanish corona vaccine Hipra in the European vaccination program. The development of this vaccine has been subsidised by the EU.
Once the Spanish Hipra vaccine is in the European program, millions of doses of it will be sold to all member states of the European Union. Spain will mainly switch to this type of vaccine for which the European Commission gives the country a special price. Hipra will, if it is up to Spain, receive an equivalent status as, for example, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The EU has invested millions in the development of the Hipra vaccine. And has consequently, pledged to purchase a minimum number of doses once all authorisations are in place. So far, the joint European purchase has yielded billions of available doses of vaccine. The EU received 2.4 billion Pfizer vaccine doses, 460 million doses from Moderna, 400 million doses from AstraZeneca and Janssen. And also a further 200 million doses of the US Novavax vaccine.
Hipra becomes third booster vaccine
In February, the Hipra vaccine entered clinical phase III, which is the last phase before it can be approved for commercialisation. When that happens, Hipra will act as a longer-term booster vaccine. Currently, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are used as boosters in Europe. Newcomer Novavax is only being used as the first vaccine for people who are allergic to the other vaccines or who cannot receive them for another medical reason.
The Hipra vaccine is not based on messenger RNA technology like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Nor is it a classic vaccine like that of AstraZeneca or Janssen. It has been developed on the basis of proteins with which different variants of the virus can be combined. Therefore, it adapts more easily to possible new virus variants.
In addition to the Spanish Hipra vaccine, the Sanofi and Valneva vaccines are also awaiting possible entry into the European corona vaccination program. Both vaccines were developed in France. The first vaccine is awaiting authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the second vaccine is still under development. Once approved, 300 and 60 million doses of these vaccines, respectively, will be distributed across EU Member States.
When phase III of the Spanish Hipra vaccine is completed, the application for approval will be submitted to the EMA. If everything goes as expected and the authorisation from the European Commission has been received, the drug may be on the market next summer. This was announced by Minister Diana Morant of Science and Innovation.