Status update from local manufacturer on COVID-19 vaccine process and distribution

Emergent BioSolutions confident COVID vaccine will be made available next year
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Despite the proclamation from President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the world’s leading drug companies said a coronavirus vaccine will not be ready for the public until at least spring of next year. In fact, Moderna’s CEO said his company won’t even ask to use it on frontline medical workers until November 25.

One of the companies working on a vaccine is Emergent BioSolutions in Lansing and experts there are a lot more optimistic.

Dino Muzzin, Senior Vice President Emergent BioSolutions, said there will be a vaccine available next year because the process to make the vaccine has been accelerated.

Muzzin said it typically takes 10 to 15 years to make and distribute a vaccine. It’s part of a six step process. Muzzin said the first step is to collect data.

“You’re gathering the facts, you’re setting up the parameters that you want and this is where you use a lot of the science. There are three phases in human clinical trials," he said.

“You get positive results in phase one, you typically move into a phase two. If you get positive results there, you move into phase three," said Muzzin. "A phase three trial, otherwise known as a pivotal trial, is the most important human trial you have because this one is looking at thousands of people. And for many of these COVID phase three trials, you’re looking at 40 to 60 thousand patients.”

Muzzin says he is hoping for multiple COVID-19 vaccines to hit the shelves.

“This is where the U.S. government and operational speed comes in because they will be working with the innovator companies on that whole logistical plan on which clinicians get it, which physicians get it, how we distribute it. All of those plans are in works as we speak,” he said.

Muzzin says there are over 170 vaccine candidates in development. Nine are in phase three trials. If they have success, it is likely that vaccines will be available in 2021.

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