An influential foundation focused on preparation and response to epidemics that is backing nine potential coronavirus vaccines has identified manufacturers with capacity to produce four billion doses a year, the group's top manufacturing expert told Reuters.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI)plans to have two or three manufacturing plants for each vaccine, James Robinson, a longtime biopharma executive leading CEPI'S vast manufacturing push, said in an interview.
"Right now, we know we can do the two billion doses that we have as our kind of our minimum target" by the end of 2021, he said.
The group is planning for eight to 10 regional distribution sites "so that we don't have to make everything centrally and try and ship it around the world," he said.
Even with no existing approved vaccines, CEPI is already getting manufacturing and supply chains lined up in a quest to ensure coronavirus vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.
The Oslo, Norway-based group is backed by 14 governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Britain's Wellcome Trust.
CEPI has deployed up to $829 million so far in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine through partnerships with nine developers, with the hope that at least some will be successful.
They are Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc, the University of Queensland with CSL Ltd, CureVac, Moderna Inc with U.S. government backing, Novavax Inc, the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, the University of Hong Kong, and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur and including the University of Pittsburgh and Themis Bioscience.
Effective vaccines are seen as critical to stopping a pandemic that has infected more than 9.3 million people and killed nearly 480,000 globally with little sign of letting up.