The president of global supply, Mike McDermott, says that, with the new coronavirus, it was necessary to invent a new way of producing vaccines since a year ago. “It was an incredible 12 months, unlike anything I’ve experienced in my career,” he says. The formulation rooms were prefabricated in Texas and taken there.
Until December 2020, no vaccine with messenger RNA technology had been approved anywhere in the world. Pfizer doubled its production capacity a month ago, to 13 million doses a week, and expects to be able to deliver up to 25 million a week in a few months.
With the high demand, dry ice for the conservation of doses started to be produced at the factory, since it was not possible to find enough suppliers.
What makes the vaccine favrication process possible is a small tool called an impact mixer jet: on the one hand the messenger RNA enters, on the other, the lipids. Both are mixed at a pressure of 400 pounds. From there come lipid nanoparticles, which allow the messenger RNA to be transported to human cells.
“The first time someone showed me this mixer, I said, can’t you be serious? How can you produce billions of doses around here? So my confidence level was very low. Not that it couldn’t be done, I I knew it worked on smaller scales, but I didn’t understand how I could multiply them “, recalls McDermott.
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