The CEO of the German company BioNTech has expressed concern about the possibility of increasing the production of their corona vaccine. The BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine is currently the only one approved in the European Union, which means that there is a huge demand.
BioNTech is working hard with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to increase production of their corona vaccine. However, according to Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, the supply will remain scarce until other corona vaccines are approved. He said this in the German weekly Der Spiegel.
In Germany, commotion has arisen because some vaccination centers had to close because they have too few corona vaccines. According to BioNTech, this is due to the decision of the European Union to order too few doses. According to Sahin, Europe expected more vaccines to be approved more quickly. However, that is not yet the case.
Moderna’s corona vaccine is expected to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 6. We have to wait even longer for approval for the vaccines from AstraZeneca / Oxford and Janssen Pharmaceutica / Johnson & Johnson.
New production line
While the United States ordered 600 million doses from Pfizer and BioNTech, Europe only placed an order for 200 million doses with an additional option for an additional 200 million doses. Europe only placed that order in November. “At a certain point it became clear that it would not be possible to deliver so quickly. By then it was already too late to place follow-up orders, ”said Oezlem Tuereci, the chief medical officer at BioNTech in Der Spiegel.
Nevertheless, the company hopes to be able to increase production in February. Then a new production line would be started up in Marburg, Germany, which could produce 250 million doses in the first half of the year. Discussions are still underway with other manufacturers, which should be clarified by the end of January.
Store at higher temperatures
Sahin also had good news about the storage of their corona vaccine. At the moment, that has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, which causes many logistical problems. By the end of this summer, the company hopes to have a next-generation vaccine ready that can be stored at higher temperatures.