BIONTECH has said that it aims to produce 2bn doses of its vaccine this year through increased manufacturing capacity and more doses being extracted from vials.
Ugur Sahin, Chief Executive of BioNTech, made the announcement at the annual JP Morgan Health Care Conference on 11 January. The previous estimate for the number of available doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for this year was 1.3bn doses, according to Sahin in an interview with Reuters.
The increased capacity is due to a number of factors, including continuous process improvements and expansion at existing facilities. BioNTech also has a new manufacturing facility in Marburg, Germany, that it acquired from Novartis in September last year. The new facility is expected to be operational by the end of February and will have an annual capacity of 750m doses.
Some additional doses will be made available as regulators have approved the extraction of a sixth dose from the vials, compared to the usual five doses. According to Reuters, a special syringe known as a low dead space syringe can be used to extract the additional dose, which will avoid any wastage.
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