American drugmaker Merck is purchasing Austrian vaccine maker Themis and joining the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Merck also plans to collaborate with a nonprofit research organization to develop a second vaccine.
The president of Merck Research Laboratories said of purchasing Themis, “We are eager to combine our strengths both to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine in the near term and to build a pandemic preparedness capability directed toward emerging agents that pose a future epidemic threat.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said earlier this month the U.S. government has set a goal of making 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine available to the country before 2021. Experts are starting to narrow down which vaccine projects to put what he called "the big financial bets behind."