What are the ‘big challenges’ to mass producing a coronavirus vaccine

A blood sample has been prepared for analysis by a laboratory technician at Accel Research Sites on 4 August 2020 in DeLand, Florida, US.

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Earlier this week, Modern’s announcement that its vaccine was more than 94% effective at stopping coronovirus, further raised global hopes that a resolution of more than 1.3 million killed epidemics could be in sight, according to preliminary testing data. Can.

The equally positive news from Pfizer and BioNTech came after news that their vaccine candidate was over 90% effective. News from Modern was promoted as a “game changer” and Pfizer’s chief executive described the vaccine achievement as “a great day for science and humanity”.

As the search for the market in the news continued, the unprecedented logistical challenge posed by vaccine production and distribution quickly turned to practical matters, should they receive final regulatory approval to a global population of about 7 billion people.

Vaccines need to be produced and carried in specific (and cold) conditions otherwise they may be ineffective; This is a major challenge for global pharmaceutical manufacturers when it comes to vaccine delivery.

Swiss drugmaker Lonja has partnered with Modern and says it aims to produce 400 million doses of the vaccine per year. The US firm is targeting a total of 500 million to 1 billion doses for 2021. Anyone receiving the vaccine will require two doses, as Pfizer’s shot shows how long it may take to vaccinate internationally with current manufacturing capacity.

Lonja, with facilities in the US and Switzerland, will modernly produce the content within the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, where it is headquartered. Company chairman Albert Baihani told CNBC of “major challenges” when he comes to drug manufacturers to increase production.

“We can only produce more than 500 million doses in a year. If we set up additional manufacturing lines, it is clear that we need to set up additional in the establishment to produce more than 500 million (per year) in the future Investment is required, “he said on Wednesday on CNBC’s” Squawk Box Europe “.

Beheni identified more challenges to vaccine production that the company has faced since partnering with Modern.

“There are some issues, the first is speed. We started only 10, 11 months ago and we are now producing the first commercial batches of pharmaceutical substance in North America, and we plan to have one or the first batch of commercial quantities in one Are making. ” Two weeks in Switzerland, so speed has been a challenge. “

“The second challenge is to find people. For each manufacturing line you need 60-70 educated people. We have set up four manufacturing lines so that you have to identify and train these people,” he said.

“Then the speed (issue) is connected, you have access to the equipment, install the equipment, and then test your construction facility, so (these) are big challenges, solved, or for about a year. Are resolved in a short time. “

Keeping the temperature and vaccines sufficiently cool during transport is another major challenge.

Pfizer vaccines require a storage temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, or -70 degrees Celsius. By comparison, Modern said on Monday that its vaccine remains at temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit – a standard home or medical refrigerator – for 30 days. It can be stored for up to six months at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

“They are standard conditions in the pharmaceutical industry,” Baihani said. “So I don’t see many problems for delivery, for shipping, and for storing Modern’s vaccine,” he said.

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