Moderna Inc said Thursday it was increasing the manufacturing capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine and planned to manufacture up to 3 billion doses in 2022, more than double its previous forecast.
He also said he was raising his expectations for 2021 vaccine production to between 800 million and 1 billion shots, pushing the low end of his range of 700 million.
The final number of inoculations will depend on the number of lower dose formulations for boosters and vaccinations for children. Moderna injections currently deploy 100 micrograms of vaccine substance, but some future injections may only use 50 micrograms.
“As we look forward to next year, we see so much the need for a primary vaccine, we hear it all over the world, as well as boosters,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in an interview.
“So depending on … how much of the drive that occurs is third doses or pediatric doses at 50 micrograms, we could see up to 3 billion doses,” he added. Moderna previously said he expected to achieve 1.4 billion shots in 2022.
Moderna also said new data suggests her snapshots can be safely stored for up to three months at refrigerator temperature, making it easier to transport them to hard-to-reach areas that may not have access to freezers.
“This could be a breakthrough that really matters in 2022 in Africa and in low- and middle-income countries,” Hoge said.
Wealthy governments have attempted to source COVID-19 injections from Moderna and Pfizer Inc / BioNTech SE after safety concerns and production issues temporarily ruled out vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson.
But even as rich countries ramp up their vaccine rollouts, other parts of the world are facing a sharp increase in cases and struggling to acquire the necessary vaccines.
India has recorded more than 300,000 cases every day and more than 2,000 deaths last week. Less than 10% of its 1.3 billion citizens have received a dose and only around 20 million are fully immunized against the virus.
Moderna plans to double the production of a drug plant in Switzerland managed by Lonza Group AG and to double the production of a facility based in Spain owned by Laboratorios Farmaceuticos ROVI SA. US factories will also increase production by more than 50%.
Moderna’s two-dose vaccine uses messenger RNA technology that programs cells to boost immunity against the novel coronavirus.
The US drugmaker has said it will start investing this year and production increases will start at the end of 2021 and continue into early 2022.
Moderna said he was in advanced talks for additional deals with other manufacturers to help him with his shots. Moderna earlier this month announced blueprint production agreements with Sanofi SA and Catalent Inc.
The company would need regulatory approval to begin shipping vaccines at higher refrigerator temperatures.
So far, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have been the only major global drugmakers to offer licensed COVID-19 injections that can be stored without a freezer.
Both companies faced production issues and reported serious side effects that slowed uptake of their vaccines.
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday that the U.S. government had agreed to increase the contract for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine from $ 236 million to about $ 1.25 billion, to include additional costs related to the studies of the shoot.
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