There are many obstacles in Covid-19 vaccine production 5There are many obstacles in Covid-19 vaccine production 5

In less than a month, two major US pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, both announced that their vaccines are about 95% effective, raising hopes of ending the pandemic.

Pharmaceutical industry leaders and analysts are optimistic that hundreds of millions of doses will be produced by spring 2021 thanks to billions of dollars of investment, but they will have to overcome a series of initial obstacles.

Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines use new technology that has never been widely approved before.

Paul Mango, Deputy Director for Policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said: `Large-scale production of biological products is a very erratic operation. Sometimes we try for months

The US government’s Speed Campaign aims to have 300 million vaccine doses this year, but success is unlikely.

Moderna’s vaccine production line in Switzerland.

`Expecting 300 million doses by the end of the year, I think this is the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced,` Paul Mango said.

In July, Pfizer said it would produce 100 million vaccine doses by December. To date, Pfizer has only achieved half of that number.

`They (pharmaceutical companies) always use the same four words: ‘ideal scenario,’` said Steve Brozak, President and CEO of investment firm WBB Securities, which specializes in infectious diseases.

One of the main goals of Operation Speed ​​is to work with companies to produce vaccines before completing clinical trials.

Delivering millions of injections each month is a different story than a few thousand test doses.

The global hoarding competition is straining supplies and all related logistics equipment, from stainless steel tanks to plastic bale liners.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are using RNA technology, allowing scientists to quickly adapt techniques to new pathogens.

There are many obstacles in Covid-19 vaccine production

A Pfizer vaccine `freeze storage farm`.

Moderna, a small company in Massachusetts, has never even brought a vaccine to market.

Meanwhile, giant Pfizer does not receive investment from the US government.

According to Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, the company has pre-produced 50 million doses by the end of the year, half of which are supplied to countries other than the US.

Many units use other technologies for preparation, making it easier to increase distribution scale, but testing must be suspended for safety reasons.

CEO Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca only closes vaccine vials when approved for use.

There are many obstacles in Covid-19 vaccine production

Vaccine production line of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Melbourne, Australia.

Johnson & Johnson started testing in September, later than its competitors.

But even experienced companies can fail.

James Robinson, a member of the scientific advisory board of the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said some companies are running out of specialized plastic bags used to line bioreactors for vaccines.

According to Mr. Mango, of the Department of Health and Human Services, Operation Speed ​​estimates that the US could reserve several hundred million doses if potential vaccines are approved by the FDA next month.

`Let’s not forget the fact that never in history has a vaccine been developed on such a large scale in such a short period of time,` he said.

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