CureVac CEO Warns Vaccine Hoarding Could Limit mRNA Shots

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Vaccine nationalism could undermine efforts to produce more Covid-19 shots from novel messenger-RNA technology because the supply chain includes elements that are already scarce, according to CureVac NV’s chief executive officer.

Components needed for making genetic material in the vaccines -- along with the lipid nanoparticles that surround it -- are currently difficult to source in large volumes, since the mRNA industry was so small before the pandemic. Suddenly, companies including Pfizer Inc., BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. are looking to produce billions of doses of mRNA Covid shots.

“There has been no big mRNA manufacturing so far, because it was not needed,” CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Now we’re talking about big quantities.”

CureVac CEO Warns Vaccine Hoarding Could Limit mRNA Shots

The proliferation of mutated strains of the coronavirus -- which some Covid shots have found harder to stop -- has increased the urgency to scale up vaccinations and produce next-generation vaccines that afford better protection.

CureVac has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline Plc to create a next-generation Covid mRNA shot that could help protect against multiple variants of the pathogen, and it’s extended a partnership with Bayer AG to allow the German pharma giant to produce CureVac’s vaccine.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced plans Wednesday to have a next-generation Covid shot available by the fall, in time for the next round of immunizations that may be required before winter

CureVac expects to publish data from the advanced trial of its first-generation mRNA vaccine candidate in late March, with approvals possible in April, Haas said. There will be data from the study concerning how effective CureVac’s shot is at handling the mutations, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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