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I gather the "big" promise of the mRNA vaccines is that they take somewhat less time to produce than conventional methods where the target protein (or virus) has to be grown first.

The current problem with them is that they have never been accepted* for medical use, so there is no industrial capacity to begin with, and the demand is for billions of units.

The deactivated or vector-based vaccines take longer to produce, but the worldwide capacity exists and can even be expanded. They are basically held back by the fact that vaccine production, of all kinds, is an ecosystem and the capacity to produce equipment and materials for any kind of vaccine production just is not there yet.

For example Pfizer managed to get priority in USA for it's vaccine production requirements by strong lobbying and being approved first.

I would be surprised if the companies producing high-end lab equipment and material need to grow, filter, purify the proteins and all the adjuvants, stabilizers and preservatives that go into vaccines would be that keen to build new capacity before they know if this is one-off boom. They rather wait and make good profit from demand exceeding supply.

* even now they have been accepted for emergency use only. The very second there is either a working treatment for Covid available or a vaccine properly accepted, they lose the license.

by pelgus on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 at 12:24:11 PM EST
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I fairness the US, UK and EU all gave Billions to vaccine researchers and makers well in advance of any products being approved to try an accelerate the design, development, testing and manufacturing processes and it has all been done faster than ever before. The mRNA vaccines are, as you say, entirely a new concept and there was uncertainty whether they would ever work.

Vaccine production has long been a relatively unprofitable backwater for big pharma with some pulling out of the business altogether and none of the really big vaccine players have yet produced an approved vaccine. There is a fundamental contradiction between profit led R&D and common good prioritised R&D which needs to be addressed urgently.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 at 12:52:56 PM EST
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Vaccines were developed by Dutch state owned RIVM until 2003 when its division was sold.

The earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks were stopped w/o a global pandemic. The scientists who researched those corona virussen did not find interest by BIG Pharma nor state investment funds to develop vaccines. Science was very much aware it was a matter of time a global outbreak would come to pass.

What is leadership and how wise was it not to go ahead and develop the coronavirus vaccines? How gigantic is the human suffering and the scale in numbers of economic damage? The German scientists of BioNTech and Oxford were first to develop tests and were quick on results for a vaccine. Both had direct experience in the earlier research. Trump and Warp Speed money were focused as scavengers to buy brains and patented science in foreign countries. The Dutch government has invested in Jansen in Leiden and production facilities. The commercial partner is J&J. The German pharmaceutical industry also was funded by the government. See also CureVac Trump was willing to pay a high price for exclusive distribution rights.

BioNTech worked together with Pfizer for commercial dealings and use of vast vaccine manufacturing sites.

The biggest problem is wealth and logistic know-how to bring the vaccines on the market. Key word WHO warning: hoarding as it brings unbakance and inequality.

Until the G7 meeting where partners vowed  $7.5bn to GIVA COVAX, there was barely $2bn donated, more than half from a single donor ... of course the EU-27.  Bolsonaro, Trump and Johnson were to busy burying their dead to worry about lives lost beyond their borders. A complete failure in leadership!! 😡

The world could breath a sign of relief with the defeat of Idiot Trump. The Republicans still have not learned their lesson of four years of drama and division under Trump.

From revelation in Italy of UK contract with AstraZeneca, quite likely PM Boris Johnson was given exclusive rights for early delivery of vaccines.

Health was not a topic for Brussels, this has changed now from hard lessons learned.

by Oui on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 at 03:57:04 PM EST
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