The head of one of the world’s biggest vaccine companies says Europe needs to wake up to the challenge of manufacturing enough coronavirus shots to halt the pandemic.
As others squabble over the timing and details of how to develop such a vaccine,
“There is less concern about finding a successful vaccine than there is about making the volumes needed,” Hudson told reporters on Friday. “The biggest untold story in Europe right now is the one about the number of doses.”
Sanofi is working with rival
The U.S. may be in a position to vaccinate first, according to Hudson, thanks to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a government agency that backs vaccine development. There’s no similar coordination in Europe.
“We don’t want to get to next summer and not have enough vaccines for Europe,” Hudson said.
‘You Can’t Wait’
Sanofi has made proposals to major countries and the
The U.K.’s Wellcome Trust has said that about $8 billion would be required this month to fund the development of drugs, vaccines and other tools to fight the virus. It will take considerably more than that to manufacture enough doses to meet global demand and ensure no one is left behind, the organization’s officials told reporters earlier this week.
“We need to start building new manufacturing sites now, rather than when it’s clear that a vaccine candidate is safe and effective,” Charlie Weller, Wellcome’s head of vaccines, said on a call. “We need to accept that some of these sites will be created for vaccines that will ultimately fail.”
Sanofi jumped into the fray in February, teaming up with BARDA and betting that earlier work in pursuit of a SARS vaccine could accelerate the effort. Dozens of candidates are being developed in nations from the U.S. to China. Among those that have already begun human testing are experimental vaccines from CanSino Biologics Inc., Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Moderna.
The volumes of vaccines required to fight Covid-19 are beyond the reach of many smaller companies and partnerships, according to Hudson. Sanofi’s and Glaxo’s efforts combined, he said, are “the best shot Europe has.”
(Updates with CEO’s comments starting in seventh paragraph.)
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