Demand for COVID-19 vaccines is outpacing the global supply, and Both frustrated residents and governments want to know how to get more. Much more. right Now.
Vaccine specialist Maria Elena Butazzi, of Baylor College of Medicine, noted that the problem isIt’s not like adding more water to soup“.
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers need to correct it by increasing production to hundreds of millions of doses, and every small setback could cause a delay. Some of its components weren’t produced at the mass scale required now.
And proposals that seem straightforward and that other factories change their production to make new vaccines cannot be implemented overnight. In the same week, the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi announced an unusual decision that it would assist in the packaging of some vaccines produced by its rival Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. But these doses won’t start rolling in until the northern summer, and Sanofi only has the space available in its German plant due to its vaccine delay, which is bad news for total supplies globally..(Reuters)
“We thought, well, it’s like men’s shirts, right?” Said Dr. Paul Offitt of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who is an advisor to the United States government on vaccines, “I’ll have another place to do it.” It’s not that easy.
Different vaccines, different prescriptions
The different classes of vaccines that are used in different countries train the body to recognize the new Corona virus, especially the glycoprotein that it covers. But It requires different technologies, raw materials, equipment and knowledge.
Currently, the two US-licensed vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, are made by placing a piece of genetic code called mRNA – the instructions for this glycoprotein – inside a small ball of fat.
It’s easy to make small quantities of mRNA in a research laboratory, but “before that, nobody did a billion doses, not 100 million, not even a million doses of mRNA.”Drew Weisman of the University of Pennsylvania who helped develop mRNA technology said.
Increasing their size doesn’t just mean doubling the ingredients to get more. Creation of mRNA involves a chemical reaction between enzymes and genetic elements, and Weizmann noted that the enzymes do not work efficiently and in large quantities.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, already in use in Britain and other countries, and which Johnson & Johnson is expected to release soon, is made from the cold virus that transports the glycoprotein gene to the body. Its synthesis varies widely: live cells of this virus grow in huge bioreactors, before being extracted and purified.
“If your hives become old, tired, or start to change, you can have a little moreWeizmann said. “There are many variables and many other things to check.”
A more classic type, “inactive” virus vaccines such as those manufactured by Chinese Sinovac, It requires more steps and enhanced biosecurity because it is made from dead corona viruses.
There is one thing all vaccines have in common: They must be manufactured to exacting standards that require facilities to pass specific inspections and checks at every step, which is time consuming but essential to have confidence in the quality of all shipments.
How about the supply chain?
Production depends on obtaining sufficient raw materials. Pfizer and Moderna insist that they have reliable suppliers.
However, a US government spokesman said that logistics experts were working directly with vaccine manufacturers to anticipate and solve any supply issues.
Moderna CEO Stephan Bansel acknowledges that challenges remain.
The company maintains production 24 hours a day, so that if “one of the materials is lost one day, we cannot start making the products, and this capacity will be lost forever because we cannot compensate it”, Recently explained to investors.
Pfizer has temporarily cut deliveries in Europe for several weeks to make improvements to its Belgian plant and increase production.Pfizer vaccine dosage (Bloomberg)
And the Sometimes the conversions aren’t enough. AstraZeneca told an angry EU that her company would also initially offer lower doses than it promised. The reason was cited: lower-than-expected production at some European manufacturing centers.
Norman Baylor, a former director of vaccines at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said that more than other industries, when you work with biological ingredients, “there are things that can go wrong and they’ll go wrong.” Production variances are described as common.
How much is it made?
This varies by country. Moderna and Pfizer expect to deliver 100 million doses to the US by the end of March and another 100 million doses in the second quarter of the year. As president, Joe Biden announced plans to buy more this summer to vaccinate 300 million Americans in total.
Pfizer CEO Albert Burla said this week at a conference Bloomberg That your company will deliver 120 million doses by the end of March, Not because of the acceleration of production but because health workers are now allowed to take an extra dose from each vial.
But get six doses instead of five It requires the use of specialized syringes, and there are concerns about the global supply. A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said the United States ships batches of special syringes with each shipment from Pfizer.
Pfizer also said upgrades at its Belgium plant are causing trouble now to bring long-term benefits, as the changes will help boost global production to 2 billion doses this year instead of the 1.3 billion originally planned.
Moderna also recently announced that it will be able to provide 600 million doses of vaccines in 2021, up from the 500 million doses originally planned, and that it is expanding its capacity to 1 billion.
But Perhaps the easiest way to get more doses is to demonstrate that other vaccines are in development. US data on the effectiveness of one-dose Johnson & Johnson and another company, Novavax, are expected soon in the final phase of trials.
For months, the major vaccine companies signed up. “Manufacturer contractsIn the United States and Europe Help them produce the dosages and complete their refills. Moderna, for example, works with Swiss Lonza.
Outside of rich countries, the Serum Institute in India has entered into a contract to manufacture 1 billion doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. It is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and is expected to be a major supplier to developing countries.
But Some domestic efforts to increase supplies appear to be having problems. Two Brazilian research institutes expect to produce millions of doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, but have experienced unexplained delays in delivering ingredients from China.
In addition, Butazzi noted, the world must also continue to produce vaccines against polio, measles, meningitis and other diseases that remain dormant during epidemics.
Weizmann, the expert from the University of Pennsylvania, called for patience.
“I think we will do more vaccines every month than the previous month,” he said.
(With AP information)
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