Johnson & Johnson is preparing the ground for the entry of a vaccine against COVID-19 and is expanding its manufacturing capacity to supply more than one billion doses through 2021 in a not-for-profit project aimed at the common person, says its top scientist. The US-based pharma giant, which has already advanced its schedule of starting human trials of its candidate vaccine to the second half of July from September, is working on the twin fronts of expanding existing manufacturing capacity and establishing new units, Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels, media reported.
‘We plan to begin production at risk and are committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. We are expanding our global manufacturing capacity, including establishing new vaccine manufacturing capabilities,’ Stoffels said in an email interview from Belgium.
‘We are also scaling up capacities in other countries to further our goal to supply more than one billion doses of the vaccine globally through the course of 2021, provided the vaccine is safe and effective,’ he added.
J&J has joined hands with the US government for a $1 billion investment to speed up development and production of its vaccine. The company’s efforts, part of the global race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, comes as the pandemic continues its spread with more than 10 million cases and over 5,05,000 fatalities across the world.
Explaining why the firm advanced its clinical trials by two months, Stoffels said, ‘Based on the strength of the preclinical data we have seen so far and after interacting with the regulatory authorities, we are able to accelerate the clinical development of our investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate.’