Vaccine manufacturers globally have the capacity to produce 2 to 4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines till the end of 2021, according to a study by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). CEPI is an alliance to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics.
CEPI, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Clinton Health Access Initiative and PATH – undertook a worldwide survey of vaccine manufacturers to understand capabilities, capacities and interest in responding to the pandemic. This finding is important for CEPI’s wider COVID-19 response, as it aims to distribute 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 through a programme called COVAX.
Between April 3, and June 19, 2020, CEPI invited vaccine manufactures from around the world to take part in a survey to assess what manufacturing capacity was available to produce drug substance and drug product in the coming months, specifically between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.
A key objective of this survey was to understand how COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing could be scaled up without affecting the manufacture of other important vaccines and to identify additional capacity in the global manufacturing system for both drug substance and drug product.
According to the study, India has the largest capacity in the world to make drug substances, which are needed to develop vaccines, followed by Europe and North America. A total of 113 manufacturers from over 30 countries responded to the survey, while 43 respondents were both drug-substance and drug-product manufacturers. Around 56 were drug-substance manufacturers only.
CEPI stated that India has the largest production capacity for drug substances specifically for microbial or yeast expression systems; recombinant protein from suspension cells; recombinant protein from insect cells; viruses; and DNA.
For drug product, the base-case estimates showed that China has the largest production capacity, followed by North America, and the rest of Asia and Oceania.