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AstraZeneca rakes in $1 billion vaccine bonanza via sale of Moderna shares

AstraZeneca vaccine

AstraZeneca Plc has sold its 7.7% stake in Moderna Inc for more than $1 billion after the U.S. biotechnology company's shares shot up in the stock markets due to its breakthrough in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a report in The Times.

The report added that it was not clear over what period UK pharma giant AstraZeneca sold its holding in Moderna.

AstraZeneca is retaining partnership with Moderna on other disease treatments and could sell its AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine on a commercial basis in future if the virus becomes endemic, the report states.

Moderna, whose vaccine is being used in the US and Europe to fight Covid-19  has said it expects sales to the tune of $18.4 billion from its coronavirus vaccine this year.

Moderna and Pfizer are the two big vaccine makers in the US and have also stepped up supplies in Europe due to a delay in the AstraZeneca shots amid a surging pandemic. US regulators formally approved the single-shot Johnson & Johnson as the oronavirus vaccine for the country to fight the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed over 5 lakh lives in the country.

There is an acute shortage of vaccines worldwide and nations are struggling to source supplies.

However, India has risen to the challenge and is making cheaper Covid vaccines available to the developing countries. The vaccines were gifted free to neighbouring countries for the inoculation of their frontline workers. They are also being exported to other countries at around $5 a dose compared with $19 a dose that the Moderna vaccine costs in the US.  India has already supplied 25 countries with vaccines while another 75 are in the queue.