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French drug firm boss: U.S. will get first dibs on its coronavirus vaccine

A nurse administers a vaccine at St. Johns Medical Centre in Altrincham, England. | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The U.S. might get first access to Sanofi’s coronavirus vaccine because the country coughed up more money than Europe, according to the French drug company’s CEO.

“The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson told Bloomberg in an interview published Wednesday.

The U.S.’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has put $30 million toward one of Sanofi’s two vaccine candidates, which is also using technology from GlaxoSmithKline.

Because of this help, the U.S. expects “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first,” Hudson said.

Meanwhile, the Sanofi CEO warned that Europe risks falling behind the U.S. and China.

“Those two powerhouse economies will be vaccinated first, which is why it became so important to try to create a debate in Europe to say, ‘Don’t let Europe be left behind,'” he said.

In April, Hudson slammed the EU for its lack of coordination on vaccine research.

“I’ve been campaigning in Europe to say the U.S. will get vaccines first,” Hudson said. “That’s how it will be because they’ve invested to try and protect their population, to restart their economy.”

The Commission hosted a pledging conference to raise $8 billion, partially for vaccine development, but the U.S. noticeably did not attend. That has fueled fear that U.S. President Donald Trump will start a global fight to get first access to a vaccine.

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