19 May, 2021

ZICCUM AB welcomes urgent calls to ramp up vaccine manufacturing across the globe to address inequity in vaccine access and prevent future pandemics

Last week saw repeated calls from influential global stakeholders to establish or upgrade vaccine manufacturing facilities, particularly those in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Ziccum CEO: “We welcome these important developments and share the commitment to scale up vaccine manufacturing and improve Fill and Finish capacity globally. These urgent calls, from multiple groups, show that increasing regional vaccine manufacture is now a question of when, not if. Let’s act now – together.”

Major announcements and reports emphasizing regional manufacture:

  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced the formation of the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force – an initiative that will be spearheaded by the co-leads of COVAX to urgently address the shortages in vaccine production through improvements in vaccine manufacturing infrastructure.
  • The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response presented a report that called for urgent action to prevent future pandemics, boosting vaccine production takes time so enabling it must begin now.
  • The Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response (PERC) published a report on the COVID-19 response in Africa, highlighting the urgent need to facilitate local vaccine manufacturing in the African region.

The COVAX Manufacturing Task Force, announced by CEPI has laid out a 3-stage plan to enhance existing vaccine production capacity, as well as expanding long-term production. The Task Force aims to address immediate manufacturing bottlenecks by increasing existing capacity and overcoming workforce limitations, through identifying and matching “Fill and Finish” manufacturers with producers of active ingredients, accelerating approvals of exports permits/ customs clearances and facilitating partnerships for supply of vital vaccine inputs. The long-term goal in Dr Seth Berkley’s (CEO at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) vision is for COVAX to expand local production capacity through novel efforts, such as a mRNA vaccine technology, particularly in LMICs.

The need to improve vaccine manufacturing capacity in LMICs is strongly echoed in the recent reports “COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic”, published by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and “Responding to COVID-19 In Africa” released by PERC, which further cemented the urgency required from the global community to increase vaccine production and share technological expertise to facilitate local vaccine manufacturing, particularly in Africa, and other LMICs.

Ziccum is looking forward to engaging with the global community on these critical matters. In particular, it is essential that all the capabilities of the global vaccine community are leveraged —from vaccine R&D stakeholders through to those working in the clinical development, manufacturing, and regulatory sectors—to address short-term, medium-term, and long-term COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing challenges and bottlenecks.
To address the repeated calls for increased local vaccine production, Ziccum offers its novel ambient air-drying method.

Ziccum is currently planning to develop a series of aseptic modular Fill and Finish plants enabling individual countries to produce up to 30 million vials of thermostable dry-powder vaccines using Ziccum’s patented LaminarPace air-drying technology. This would equate to 300 million doses. Ziccum’s Fill and Finish plants will drive self-sufficiency and security of vaccine supplies across the globe to enable countries to better respond to COVID-19, prepare for inevitable future pandemics and continue routine immunization.

Ziccum CEO Göran Conradson: “We’re pleased to see this strong consensus emerging around the need for increased regional manufacturing of vaccines. As WHO Director General Dr Tedros recently said “the pandemic won’t be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere”.

“We need to manufacture more vaccines where they are needed most – formulated in the best possible way for that region. And we have the technology to do that! When a continent the size of Africa still has to rely on imports for 99% of its vaccine supply – even in the grip of a global pandemic – then we know the system needs improving. And pandemics are speeding up. The next may be right around the corner. The clock is ticking. Now is the time for innovation in vaccine formulation. We need to set vaccines free so that everyone can access, manufacture and formulate them in the best possible way for their people. There’s no time to waste. It’s time to work together.”

Links:

COVAX Manufacturing Task Force – More information available here [https://cepi.net/news_cepi/covax-manufacturing-task-force/]

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response – “Covd-19: Make it the last Pandemic” [https://theindependentpanel.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/COVID-19-Make-it-the-Last-Pandemic_final.pdf]

Partnerships for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) – “Responding to COVID-19 in Africa” [https://preventepidemics.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PERC-Finding-the-Balance-Part-III-12-May-2021.pdf]