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GlaxoSmithKline, Vir Say U.S. to Buy 600,000 More Covid Doses

The agreement includes the option for the U.S. to buy additional doses in the second quarter, the companies say.
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GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline Plc Report and its partner Vir Biotechnology  (VIR) - Get Vir Biotechnology, Inc. Report said Tuesday that the U.S. government will buy an additional 600,000 doses of sotrovimab, its Covid-19 treatment.

Shares of GlaxoSmithKline were up slightly to $44.88, while Vir Biotechnology climbed 2.5% to $34.25 at last check.

The agreement includes the option for the US government to buy additional doses in the second quarter of the year.

Including the latest announcement, the two companies have agreements for the sale of roughly 1.7 million doses of sotrovimab worldwide. 

In November, the two companies signed U.S. government contracts valued at about $1 billion for sotrovimab.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to sotrovimab in May. It was approved for use in the United Kingdom in December. 

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 Under the EUA, sotrovimab can be used for treating mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and children 12 years and older with positive results of direct viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Sotrovimab was designed to achieve high concentration in the lungs to ensure optimal penetration into airway tissues affected by SARS-CoV-2 and to have an extended half-life.

The companies said they expect to make about 2 million doses globally in the first half of the year and additional doses in the second half.

“We are proud to continue to work with the US government to bring sotrovimab to patients who need it, especially as the Omicron variant continues to grow in prevalence across the country," Maya Martinez-Davis, GlaxoSmithKline's president of US Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement.

The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, Reuters reported, the highest daily total for any country in the world.

The previous record was 1.03 million cases on Jan. 3 and a large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend. 

On Tuesday, a World Health Organization official said that the omicron variant is forecasted to infect more than half of all Europeans in the next six to eight weeks.