While the research is underway for coronavirus vaccine development, the approach to develop it in record time will be very difficult. Preparing its supply, sufficient for the whole world will be the greatest challenge in history for the researchers.
Gathering experts during travel restrictions to creating new types of syringes and vials for all the worldly population, and to manage extremely difficult storage conditions, it is a path filled with hurdles.
Any drawback in the supply chain of the vaccine could delay or ruin the already difficult process. Almost the entire population of the world is waiting for the scientists to develop a vaccine. However, scientists may not have the capacity to make, package, and sent it to billions of people.
Scientists hope that by arranging clinical trials of at least 10,000 to 30,000 people per vaccine, they might get an answer if the vaccine works or not. Even if the vaccines work, producing and packaging it for billions is a huge challenge.
Johnson and Johnson (J&J) has signed a contract with Catalent and Emergent BioSolutions to create the vaccine in bulk in America. Emergent plant for manufacturing is at Bayview, Maryland. This plant can create four vaccines simultaneously using separate manufacturing equipment and platforms.
The government-funded the plant in 2012. The plant incorporates a disposable bioreactor for single use which features plastic bags and not stainless steel. This will help to switch from one vaccine to another.
The government has provided an additional 628 million dollars to the company this month. The government did it so that the company makes its facilities available and to support any candidate chosen by the government.
Catalent simultaneously working with Johnson and Johnson has also contracted AstraZeneca ( a British drugmaker). Catalent made this contract to provide packaging and vial filling services at its plant in Italy. The aim is to handle at least hundreds of millions of doses. They can be started in August this year and run through until the first quarter of 2022.
Catalent has also placed an order for fast vial filling machinery to speed up output at Indiana plant, and it is also hiring an additional 300 workers. According to Michael Riley, North American President for biologics for Catalent, he had to compress yearly worth work into months. And also managing glass vials as they are not in full of supply.
As glass vials are short in the market, companies have planned that they will use big vials. One vial will carry five to twenty doses. But this creates a problem that if the user doesn’t use all doses in time they may spoil.
Catalent is planning to use technology named Blow-Fill-Seal, in which a syringe is blown out of plastic, is filled with the vaccine, and is sealed in seconds.
Let’s hope that whoever produces the vaccine can do it quickly so that more and more lives can be saved.