AstraZeneca will receive up to $1.2 billion from HHS to develop, produce and deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. as soon as October, the agency said in a statement Thursday.
HHS' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, will fund a Phase 3 clinical trial with 30,000 volunteer participants and a pediatric trial this summer. If the trials are successful, AstraZeneca will provide the U.S. with at least 300 million doses of the vaccine.
The vaccine started going through early-stage clinical trials in England last month to assess its safety and efficacy.
"AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk," the company said in a press release.
To make the vaccine available this fall, the Food and Drug Administration would have to approve it for emergency use because there wouldn't be enough time for the typical approval process.
The BARDA funding is part of the Trump administration's new initiative—called Operation Warp Speed—to step up the development, manufacture and delivery of a vaccine by January 2021. It mostly continues existing federal projects to manage the development, production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
The British drugmaker licensed its vaccine candidate from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, which developed the technology. It's already agreed to produce 400 million doses worldwide, with the first 30 million destined for the U.K. According to the company, it can make up to 1 billion doses.
Four vaccine candidates have now received financial support from BARDA.