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Pharmaceutical Companies Expand Vaccine Production Capacity, But Recent Shortages're Inevitable

Source:Iris Liang Time:2021-1-6 15:00:38

International pharmaceutical companies such as Modena, BioNTech/Pfizer and other international pharmaceutical companies have announced this week that they will expand their vaccine production capacity in response to this year's huge demand for the epidemic. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China has established a special class for the production and guarantee of the new crown vaccine to schedule the production capacity construction progress of key enterprises on a weekly basis. At present, 18 domestic companies in China have successively started capacity building in accordance with their own new crown vaccine research and development progress.

   Domestic vaccine production capacity is guaranteed

A person familiar with the production of domestically produced vaccines told the Global Times reporter on January 5 that China National Biotech's annual production capacity in Beijing's production base is 120 million doses and is currently in full production. In addition, the new vaccine production workshop has been completed, and equipment and process verification is currently underway. After it is put into use, it will be able to guarantee the annual production capacity of 1 billion doses. Plans to further expand production capacity are also under consideration.

The above-mentioned person said that traditionally, the production speed of inactivated vaccines is slightly slow, because such vaccines require all viruses to be inactivated, and it takes time for virus cultivation, inactivation and testing. But for China, the capacity expansion of inactivated vaccines is not a problem. Chinese companies such as China Biotech have also had sufficient experience in mass production of inactivated vaccines in the short term.

In terms of capacity construction, Cansino Bio, another domestic new crown vaccine manufacturer, is also actively deploying, including promoting the construction of its own factory, which is expected to start production in the first half of this year. At the same time, CanSino is actively seeking partners to ensure the production capacity and subsequent supply of the new crown vaccine. Whether there are sufficient vaccines with guaranteed safety and effectiveness has also become an issue of great concern in our country. Especially the Chinese New Year is approaching and the Spring Festival is coming soon. Large-scale vaccination has become a very necessary thing. After unremitting efforts and repeated applications, SEKO Machinery has also successfully applied for the vaccination qualifications for the company's employees. I believe that in the near future, all of our employees will be able to spend the Spring Festival travel safely and smoothly. After the Spring Festival holiday, they will quickly put into the production of the big project about bright annealing furnace for stainless steel finishing tubes next year.

  British, American, German and Russian companies accelerate production

At the same time, major international pharmaceutical R&D giants also plan to expand vaccine production capacity this year. According to a report by the US Consumer News and Business Channel on January 4, the American biotechnology company Modena announced that it would increase the production of the new crown vaccine this year and increase its estimated minimum dose by 20% to 600 million doses. The company also stated in a statement that it is committed to producing up to 1 billion doses of the new crown vaccine within this year. The United States is as planned to ensure the supply of 100 million doses of Modena vaccine by the end of March, and an additional 100 million doses by June. According to an Associated Press report at the end of last year, the U.S. government ordered an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine for US$1.95 billion, bringing the total dose ordered to 200 million doses. It is expected to be delivered before July 31, 2021, of which 70 million The agent will be delivered at the end of June this year. According to US media reports, Pfizer's vaccine raw materials are produced in Missouri, and the main component conversion is completed in the Massachusetts factory, and finally the production is completed by the factory in Michigan.

The US "Politics" website also recently quoted British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca as saying that by mid-January this year, AstraZeneca will increase the output of the new coronavirus vaccine developed in cooperation with Oxford University to 2 million doses per week. The British government has approved the company's vaccine and initially ordered 100 million doses.

"BioNTech increases production capacity," Deutsche News Agency reported on the 5th that BioNTech, a German biotech company that has jointly developed a new crown vaccine with Pfizer Group, said on January 4 that the company provides more vaccines to the EU than previously planned. The EU initially ordered 200 million doses of vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech of Germany in November last year, and recently signed a contract with the EU for 100 million doses. BioNTech CEO Sasin emphasized: “Due to the high number of confirmed cases of the new crown, the rapid provision of vaccines is particularly important.”

BioNTech has planned to add a new crown vaccine production base in Hessen, Germany, and will start the new crown vaccine production in February or March this year, thereby greatly increasing vaccine production. BioNTech previously acquired the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis factory in Hessen. At present, European vaccine production bases are mainly located in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Belgium. At the same time, as the world's largest producer of generic drugs and vaccines, several vaccine manufacturers in India participate in the development and production of vaccines led by British and American companies.

"Russia" quoted news from the Kremlin News Service on the 5th that Russian President Putin discussed the possible prospects of joint production of the new crown vaccine during a phone call with German Chancellor Merkel that day. In December last year, the German Minister of Health stated that it was prepared to cooperate with the Russian Ministry of Health to attract German companies to jointly produce Russian vaccines.

According to the Russian "Business Consulting Daily" report, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Manturov said that in December 2020, the production of Russian "Satellite V" new crown vaccine reached 2.5 million doses per month. It is planned to increase to 3.5 million doses by January 2021 and 18 million doses by April. Currently, two Russian pharmaceutical companies will further increase vaccine production by introducing more technical equipment. At the same time, the vaccine developer, the Gamalieya Research Center, is also adding production equipment. There are currently 4 platforms producing this vaccine.

  Vaccine shortage has become a recent test

Although vaccine production in many countries is rapidly accelerating, the surge in new crown cases in Europe and the United States in winter still highlights the shortage of new crown vaccines. According to the British "Times" report, a member of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine research and development team who asked not to be named said that the company is not expected to reach a weekly production of 2 million until the middle of this month. The New York Times reported this week that the US government is considering halving the dose of the new crown vaccine developed by Modena in order to speed up the vaccination rate of the American people. Due to the shortage of the new crown vaccine, many European countries are considering extending the interval between two doses of vaccination.

European Union countries have been widely criticized for slow vaccinations. German "Economic Weekly" stated that the European Union began negotiations with six vaccine manufacturers last summer. However, it was not until November last year that a total of 300 million doses of vaccine were ordered from BioNTech and a total of 160 million doses of vaccine were ordered from Modena. The European Union has ordered the most vaccines for AstraZeneca, reaching 400 million doses, at a price of 1.78 euros each. The price of the Modena vaccine is 15 euros, and the price of the BioNTech vaccine is 12 euros. The report emphasized that since AstraZeneca has not been approved by the European Union until now, “the European Union has clearly set the wrong target for the sake of cheapness.” German TV One said that Germany started a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign on December 27 last year. Germany has provided 1.3 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine to the states, which is clearly in short supply.

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Iris Liang
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