AstraZeneca will deliver 1.7 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently being tested by researchers at the University of Oxford. © Dado Ruvic, Reuters

Three European countries have joined forces to form the “Inclusive Vaccine Alliance”, in order to have a stronger negotiating position in the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

The Vaccine Alliance formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands has signed a contract with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to supply a coronavirus vaccine for Europe, Italy’s Health Minister said on Saturday.

The contract is for 400 million doses of the vaccine which was developed at the University of Oxford. The researchers at AstraZeneca have started a large-scale clinical trial in which the vaccine will be tested on 10,000 people. An additional trial with 30,000 participants will take place later this month.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca has also secured a deal with two US government agencies and Vanderbilt University to create antibodies to be used to treat and prevent Covid-19, according to Bloomberg.

The agreement is the latest in a series to make the vaccine  and the cost is expected to be offset by funding from the governments.