'We plan to manufacture two billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 by expanding the previously expected output of 1.3 billion doses by more than 50%' said BioNTech
In the view of rising global demand for a 'safe and effective' vaccine, BioNTech has decided to produce two billion doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in 2021, company said in a statement.
"In order to respond to an increased global demand, we plan to manufacture two billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 by expanding the previously expected output of 1.3 billion doses by more than 50 per cent," the German biotechnology firm said. "We are on track to scale-up our manufacturing capacities," the statement said.
BioNTech has partnered with US pharma giant Pfizer Inc to develop a mRNA vaccine against novel coronavirus. Dubbed as BNT162b, the COVID-19 vaccine shot relies on messenger RNA technology. Using mRNA, which essentially teaches the body’s cells to become vaccine factories, allowed it to be developed much faster than a traditional vaccine.
The clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants showed the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95%, the companies earlier said. The success rate in particularly vulnerable older age groups was more than 94%, they said.
On the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine, BioNTech chief executive officer Ugur Sahin told, "We should be more optimistic that the immunisation effect can last for at least a year."
While it was not yet known how long the protection would last, he said research on recovered patients had shown that those with high antibodies levels to begin with have not experienced a sharp drop in those levels, and the same would likely go for vaccinated people.
The partners have signed deals to deliver hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine, including an agreement with the European Union for 200 million doses, with an option for an additional 100 million.
"The modification of production processes at Pfizer's facility in Puurs, Belgium, has been successfully completed. Now, we are back to the original schedule of vaccine dose deliveries to the European Union," it said.