A Sanofi vaccine manufacturing plant in France. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is paying GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi $2.1 billion to help the companies get their coronavirus vaccine through clinical trials, cover some manufacturing costs and purchase an initial batch of 100 million doses.

The big picture: The deal, which also includes the option of buying another 500 million doses, is part of the federal government's plan to accelerate the development of as many promising vaccine candidates as possible.

Between the lines: Although GSK and Sanofi won't start their vaccine clinical trials until the fall, putting them behind other companies, the two companies are among the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world and are taking a different approach that relies on more proven technologies.

By the numbers: HHS did not respond to questions about how much of the $2.1 billion was going toward the purchase of the 100 million doses.

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Updated 7 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Two therapies are known to help treat patients who have contracted the coronavirus, and more may be announced by late September, NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

Why it matters: Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the virus are progressing and could provide some relief before vaccines become widely available.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days of no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 751,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and another 20.7 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.