AstraZeneca and IDT Biologika plan to accelerate the production of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (formerly called AZD1222). Details of the agreement are to be finalized. Both companies plan to invest in capacity expansion at IDT Biologika’s production site in Dessau, Germany to build up to five 2,000-litre bioreactors capable of making tens of millions of doses per month of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The new assets are estimated to be operational by the end of 2022.
The new facilities could also be used by manufacture of other vaccines sharing a similar manufacturing process. IDT Biologika will have among the largest vaccine manufacturing capacities of its kind in Europe and play an important part in ensuring Europe’s future vaccine supply independence.
On 29 January, COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) in the European Union (EU) for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in individuals 18 years of age and older. On 15 February, the vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older, including those over 65.
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was co-invented by the University of Oxford, UK, and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.