Sun. Feb 21st, 2021
BioNTech starts COVID vaccine production at new German site, boosting EU supplies

COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech
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has started production at a new site in Germany, in a move that will help alleviate a shortage of supplies of the shot it has developed with Pfizer
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The factory will produce mRNA, the active ingredient in the shot, which will then be purified and concentrated, before being delivered to partner sites to be finished. “The first vaccines produced at the Marburg site are expected to be delivered at the beginning of April,” BioNTech said in a statement on Wednesday. The batch will need the approval of the European Medicines Agency. BioNTech acquired the site from Swiss drug company Novartis
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last year as part of a goal to increase production of its shot to 2 billion this year. The factory has the capacity to produce up to 750 million vaccine doses a year. The European Union has been under fire for a slow vaccination rollout, worsened by delivery delays from drug companies AstraZeneca
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and Pfizer at European plants. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted on Wednesday that the EU was late to authorize the use of vaccines. “We are still not where we want to be,” von der Leyen told an EU Parliament plenary session. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has struck an agreement with Germany’s IDT Biologika to help manufacture its Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to boost the EU’s program. The European Medicines Agency authorized AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has been developed together with Oxford University for use in the European Union in January. Following that, millions of shots began shipping on Feb 5. as part of the initial 17 million doses that are due to be delivered over the next weeks, with more planned in March, AstraZeneca said in a statement on Wednesday. “AstraZeneca and IDT Biologika are exploring options to accelerate output of finished COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the second quarter of 2021 in order to help support Europe’s immediate vaccination needs during the pandemic,” the company added.

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