Industry deal has UK being first to have Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

iStock/simon2579 (OXFORD, England) -- With world governments racing to develop a vaccine effective against COVID-19, the United Kingdom struck a deal with Oxford University, which would allow the country to be first to have their vaccine should it prove successful.

The U.K. is the third-worst hit country in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 244,000, and has the second-highest death toll at 34,716 -- according to Johns Hopkins University.

Oxford signed a global-licensing agreement with AstraZeneca, a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company, which would allow the distribution of 100 million doses of their vaccine.  30 million of the amount would be exclusively available to residents of the U.K., as laid out by the deal.

The vaccine entered human clinical trials last month.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma praised the move, saying, "This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the U.K. will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives."

Worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, 4.6 million people have been sickened by the virus and 313,000 have died.

In the U.S., which remains the country with the most cases and confirmed deaths, the death toll is roughly 90,000 with 1.4 million infected. 

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