The German company BioNTech, partner of the North American consortium Pfizer in the development of the first vaccine against the new coronavirus, will increase the production to cover the needs of the countries of the European Union (EU), in difficulties to be able to immunize the population.
In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, the CEO of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, attributed the current scarcity in part to EU purchasing policy, considering that the process was slower than in other parts of the world.
“The process in Europe was not as fast and direct as in other countries and this is also due to the fact that the EU did not authorize direct orders, otherwise the countries would also have had their chance. In a negotiation that requires a clear announcement, this is something that can take some time”, Afirmou Sahin à Der Spiegel.
“There was an idea that many other companies with vaccines would appear. Apparently, there was the impression that there would be enough and that things would not be serious, and that surprised me, ”he added. This determined, says Sahin, that there was a shortage because “other authorized vaccines are missing”And BioNTech will have to“ fill this void ”.
The interview with Sahin happens when Germany is criticized for its slowness in the vaccination campaign, which started on December 27th.
BioNTech’s medical director, Ozlem Türeci, he said, for his part, that the idea of creating a basket of vaccines from several producers seemed right at first, but then it was realized that not everyone would respond in time to orders.
The increase in production, according to Türeci, is not easy because “there are no specialized factories on the planet that can prun overnight with the necessary quality”. BioNTech has agreed with five manufacturers in Europe to produce the vaccine and is negotiating new contracts.
Sahin has expectations about the effect that the new plant in Marburg, central Germany, will have and that it could make possible produce 250 million doses in the first half of 2021.