Business & Investment

BioNTech founders warn about vaccine supply gaps

© Reuters.File Photo: A nurse has a bottle of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a university hospital in Coventry


Douglas Busbine

Berlin (Reuters)-BioNTech is fully collaborating with partners Pfizer (NYSE :) To increase production of the COVID-19 vaccine, its founder warned that there would be a supply gap until other vaccines were deployed.

A German biotechnology starter led the vaccine race, but its arrival in the European Union was delayed due to relatively late approval from Brock’s health regulators and low orders from Brussels.

The delay in deploying homemade vaccines has caused astonishment in Germany. In Germany, in some areas it was necessary to stop vaccination within a few days of starting the vaccination drive.

“It doesn’t look good at this point. There are holes due to the lack of other approved vaccines, and we need to fill the gap with our own vaccine,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Shahin told Weekly Spiegel. Told.

Sahin founded BioNTech with his wife, Oezlem Tuereci, the company’s chief healthcare officer. Both have made mistakes in the EU’s decision to spread the order in the hope that more vaccines will be approved quickly.

The US ordered 600 million BioNTech / Pfizer shots in July, but the EU waited for half that size until November.

“At some point, it became clear that it was impossible to deliver so quickly,” Tuelech told Spiegel. “By then, it was too late to place subsequent orders.”

new product

BioNTech hopes to launch a new production line in Marburg, Germany, earlier than planned for February, which could produce 250 million batches in the first half of 2021, Sahin said.

Discussions with contract manufacturers are also underway and should become clearer by the end of January.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Twitter that German authorities would do everything possible to enable a quick start in Marburg.

The federal government, which supports BioNTech with a funding of € 375 million ($ 458 million), has said from opposition leaders that it will speed up vaccine production by issuing compulsory licenses to other pharmaceutical companies. I resisted the call.

Another vaccine from Moderna (NASDAQ :) will be cleared by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 6th.

Spahn also requested the EMA to expedite the UK-cleared Oxford University-AstraZeneca shot. The EU timeline for that treatment remains uncertain.

The vaccine was approved by Indian drug regulators for emergency use on Friday, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Viral variant

Sahin says the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, which tells the human immune system to use messenger RNA to fight the coronavirus, should be able to address the new, more contagious mutants first detected in the UK. Said.

“We are testing whether the vaccine can neutralize this mutant and will soon find out more,” he said.

Asked about dealing with strong mutations, he said it is possible to fine-tune the vaccine as needed within 6 weeks-such new treatments require additional regulatory approval. I might say.

Sahin also added that BioNTech makes it easier to handle vaccines that need to be stored at about minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit), and next-generation vaccines are ready by the end of summer.

BioNTech founders warn about vaccine supply gaps–spiegel-2378307 BioNTech founders warn about vaccine supply gaps

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