Astra vaccine covid
Astra Zeneca said it has supplied about 1 billion doses to more than 170 countries. Image Credit: Reuters

New York: AstraZeneca won't seek a US license for its COVID-19 vaccine until the autumn at the earliest, according to its CEO, falling further behind rivals that secured emergency authorizations for their shots. The company plans to file an application to the US Food and Drug Administration in the next two to three months, CEO Pascal Soriot said. Astra hopes to get approval "relatively quickly".

The race is on

Astra, one of the first vaccine developers out of the gates, had originally targeted the quicker emergency-use authorization in the US, with plans to file by mid-April.

But questions surrounding the company's US trial results slowed Astra down as others such as Pfizer and Moderna raced ahead.

For low- and middle-income countries

With three COVID-19 vaccines already approved in the US, "there's no emergency need anymore," Soriot said. "Right now our focus is to produce vaccine for the low and middle-income countries."

The company said it has supplied about 1 billion doses to more than 170 countries. Sales of the vaccine totaled almost $1.2 billion for the first-half of this year. While Astra has not taken a profit for the shot, committing to providing it at cost throughout the pandemic, peers such as Pfizer are getting a considerable bump. The US pharma giant said it expects its COVID-19 vaccine to bring in $33.5 billion in revenue this year.