A Call for Flexible Manufacturing Capacity for Vaccine Production

April 25, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
Pharmaceutical Technology

Interphex2007, New York, NY (Apr. 25)-As governments begin to contemplate the possibility of biological terrorism or a pandemic event, a new problem begins to emerge: in the case of a pandemic or an attack, even if a vaccine or treatment exists, how could it be produced in sufficient numbers to prevent the deaths of millions of people? That question was addressed in at the conference session, "Responding to Bioterrorism and Pandemic Events: A Case for Development of Flexible Manufacturing Space for Vaccine Production," at Interphex today.

Interphex2007, New York, NY (Apr. 25)-As governments begin to contemplate the possibility of biological terrorism or a pandemic event, a new problem begins to emerge: in the case of a pandemic or an attack, even if a vaccine or treatment exists, how could it be produced in sufficient numbers to prevent the deaths of millions of people?  That question was addressed in at the conference session, “Responding to Bioterrorism and Pandemic Events: A Case for Development of Flexible Manufacturing Space for Vaccine Production,” at Interphex today.

Although vaccines are being produced in large numbers for illnesses such as the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, concerns remain over pharmaceutical manufacturers’ ability to produce vaccine in sufficient quantities and in adequate time to address a major catastrophic event. In his presentation, Jeffery Odum, principal with NC BioSource (Raliegh, NC, www.ncbiosource.com),stressed the importance of building vaccine-manufacturing sites as soon as possible, rather than waiting for such an event to occur.

Odum pointed out that a great deal of funding from the Department of Homeland Security (Washington, DC, www.dhs.gov) and the Department of Health and Human Services (Washington, DC, www.hhs.gov) is focused on the research and development of new vaccines, many of which are reaching the end of the research and development cycle. Odum suggested funneling some of this government funding into building production plants that could be easily replicated in various places throughout the country.  These facilities, according to Odum, should have flexible capacity and the ability to produce multiple products. He also suggested that the industry closely examine single-use and disposable technology, which could make producing and administering vaccines faster and easier, as cleaning reusable components takes extra time.

Odum did admit that certain concerns would need to be addressed, especially biocontainment, as some of the plants could be handling potentially dangerous materials. These issues need to be resolved while pursuing the larger goal of creating sufficient capacity for needed vaccine production.