Drugmakers racing to develop vaccines for COVID-19 are working behind the scenes to build the supply chains needed to deliver their drugs to billions of people as rapidly as possible, reported The Wall Street Journal.
"We've never had to do something at this scale before," said Remo Colarusso, vice president of supply chain at Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutical unit.
Vaccines likely would be sent to hospitals, pharmacies, and central vaccination points, in the same way that medical teams have set up in parking lots, schools and other sites to provide testing for the virus, the news source said.
Johnson & Johnson is developing a vaccine that uses an inactivated cold virus to deliver a part of the drug. To manufacture it, the company plans to use the same type of bioreactor that it used for making an Ebola vaccine, which this month won critical regulatory approval in Europe, but at 90 times the scale, Colarusso said.
Other companies, including Moderna and Pfizer, are developing a novel type of vaccine that delivers mRNA. Making this drug substance in bulk would require smaller equipment than other methods, explained Pamela Siwik, vice president of a division in global supply at Pfizer, which is developing vaccine candidates with BioNTech.
However, formulating the drug substance requires a unique process, so Pfizer is designing new machinery with its vendors and modifying its plants to install equipment needed for the work, she added.
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