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Challenge For Biontech-Pfizer Is To Scale Up Vaccovid-19 Vaccine Production

Challenge For Biontech-Pfizer Is To Scale Up Vaccovid-19 Vaccine Production
Scaling up manufacturing facilities to cater to the huge demand for their Covid-19 vaccine is the biggest challenge for Germany's BioNTech SE and its partner in the vaccine development, Pfizer now that the vaccine has been approved by the United States for emergency usage, said the chief executive of BioNTech SE.
"We need to solve the manufacturing challenge," Ugur Sahin told the media in an interview. "It is very clear that more doses are needed. And we are dealing with that question - how to produce more doses."
Up to 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine will be manufactured by the companies next year, the companies have said.
Earlier on Friday, the Covid-19 vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration. That followed the medical regulators of the United Kingdom granting emergency authority to use the vaccine in the country and the first shots of the vaccine for the general public have already been administered there earlier in the week.
The European Medicines Agency will grant conditional approval for the vaccine by the end of the month, the two companies are expecting, Sahin said, and the vaccine can be started to be rolled out throughout the European Union by early next year.
According to Sahin, one of the ways for the company to increase production of the vaccine fast is to make an earlier than planned commissioning of an earlier announced production unit with a capacity of churning out 750 million dosses a year which BioNTech had acquired from Novartis AG in Marburg, Germany.
Meanwhile in  India, Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest manufacturer of  vaccines in the world, is “hopeful” of getting emergency use authorisation (EUA) for its vaccine from the Indian government by the end of December, said its CEO Adar Poonawalla.
“We might get emergency license by this month-end, but licence for wider use might come at a later date. But, we are confident that if the regulators give a nod, India's vaccination drive can start by January 2021,” Poonawalla said while speaking at the Economic Times Global Business Summit.
He said that the plans of the Indian government is to vaccine between 20 and 30 per cent of the population of the country so that a critical mass is reached which “will hopefully see confidence and sentiments coming back.” He added that by July 2021, the government wants 300 to 400 million doses of the vaccine.
“By September-October 2021 hopefully there will be enough vaccines for everyone and normal life can return,” he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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