After the large-scale vaccination of the novel coronavirus vaccine was launched in the early stage in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and other countries, international pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna, BioNTech/Pfizer announced this week that they would expand vaccine production capacity to meet the huge anti-pandemic demand this year.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China has set up a special class for the production and guarantee of COVID-19 vaccines to schedule the construction of production capacity of key enterprises every week. At present, 18 enterprises in China have successively carried out production capacity construction according to their own research and development progress of the novel coronavirus vaccine.
The production capacity of domestic vaccines is guaranteed.
A person familiar with the production of domestic vaccines told the Global Times on January 5 that China Biotechnology is currently fully producing at its Beijing production base with an annual production capacity of 120 million doses. In addition, a new vaccine production workshop has been built, and equipment and process verification are currently under way.
When put into use, it will guarantee the annual production capacity of 1 billion doses. Plans to further expand production capacity are also under consideration.
The above-mentioned people said that the production of inactivated vaccines has traditionally been slightly slower, because such vaccines need to be inactivated, and it takes time to culture, inactivate and test the virus.
However, for China, the expansion of inactivated vaccine capacity is not a problem. Chinese enterprises such as biology have had sufficient experience in mass production of inactivated vaccines in the short term.
In terms of production capacity construction, another domestic coronavirus vaccine manufacturer, Consino Biotechnology, is also actively laying out, including promoting the construction of its own plant, which is expected to go into production in the first half of this year.
At the same time, Consino is also actively seeking partners to ensure the production capacity and follow-up supply of the coronavirus vaccine.
British, American, German and Russian enterprises accelerate production
At the same time, major international pharmaceutical research and development giants also plan to expand vaccine production capacity this year. According to the U.S. Consumer News and Business Channel on January 4, Moderna, a U.S. biotechnology company, announced on the same day that it would increase the production of the coronavirus vaccine this year, increasing its expected minimum dose by 20% to 600 million doses.
The company also said in a statement that it is working to produce up to 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year. The United States is ensuring the supply of 100 million doses of Moderna vaccine by the end of March and an additional 100 million doses by June.
The U.S. government ordered an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer for $1.95 billion, bringing the total ordered dose to 200 million doses, which are expected to be delivered by July 31, 2021, with 70 million doses delivered by the end of June this year, according to a report by the Associated Press at the end of last year.
According to U.S. media disclosure, the raw materials for Pfizer vaccine are from Missouri, and the main ingredient conversion has been completed in the Massachusetts factory, and the production will eventually be completed by the Michigan factory.
The U.S. “Political” website recently quoted British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca as saying that by mid-January this year, AstraZeneca will increase the production of the coronavirus vaccine developed in cooperation with Oxford University to 2 million doses a week.
The British government has approved the company’s vaccine and ordered 100 million doses initially.
“BioNTech increases production capacity,” German biotechnology company BioNTech, which cooperates with Pfizer Group to develop a coronavirus vaccine, said on January 4 that it provided more vaccines to the European Union than previously planned.
The European Union recently signed a contract with the European Union for 100 million doses of vaccines after ordering 200 million doses of vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in Germany last November. “With the current high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, it is particularly important to provide vaccines quickly,” Sassin, CEO of BioNTech, stressed.
BioNTech has planned to add a new coronavirus vaccine production base in Hesse, Germany, which will start production of the coronavirus vaccine in February or March this year, thus greatly increasing vaccine production.
BioNTech previously acquired the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis’ factory in Hesse. At present, the production bases of vaccines in Europe 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 research and development and production of vaccines led by British and American companies.
On the 5th, Russian newspaper quoted Kremlin News Agency as saying that Russian President Putin discussed the possible prospect of joint production of a coronavirus vaccine in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Merkel.
In December last year, the German Minister of Health expressed his readiness to cooperate with the Russian Ministry of Health to attract German companies to jointly produce Russian vaccines.
According to Russia’s Business Consulting Daily, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Manturov said that the production of Russia’s “satellite V” coronavirus vaccine reached 2.5 million doses a month in December 2020. It is planned to increase to 3.5 million doses by January 2021 and 18 million doses by April.
At present, two pharmaceutical companies in Russia will further increase vaccine production by introducing more technical equipment. At the same time, the vaccine developer, the Garmarea Research Center, is also increasing production equipment, and a total of four platforms are currently producing the vaccine.
Vaccine shortages have become a near-term test
Although vaccine production in many countries is rapidly accelerating, the surge in coronavirus cases in Europe, the United States and other places in winter still highlights the shortage of coronavirus vaccines.
An Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine development team member who declined to be named said the company is not expected to reach 2 million weekly production until the middle of this month, according to The Times. The New York Times reported this week that the U.S. government is considering halving the dose per dose of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna to speed up vaccination for the American people.
Due to the shortage of coronavirus vaccines, many European countries are considering extending the interval between two doses.
EU countries have been widely criticized for their slow vaccination, and Germany’s Economic Weekly said that the EU began negotiations with six vaccine manufacturers last summer. But it was not until November last year that a total of 300 million doses of vaccine were ordered from BioNTech and 160 million doses of vaccine were placed on Moderna.
The EU has ordered the largest number of vaccines for AstraZeneca, reaching 400 million doses, and the price is 1.78 euros per dose. The price of the Moderna vaccine is 15 euros, and the price of BioNTech vaccine is 12 euros.
The report stressed that since AstraZeneca has not been approved by the European Union so far, “the EU has obviously set the wrong target for cheapness.” Germany has provided 1.3 million doses of BioNTech vaccine to the states since December 27 last year, according to Deutsche TV.