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The Economist: Covid-19 vaccine resource difficulties

February 6, 2021

Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Biosciences, spoke to The Economist about Covid-19 vaccine resource issues, including materials and facility supply.

Credit: The Economist / Getty Images

Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Biosciences, spoke to The Economist about the Covid-19 vaccine resource issues. He explains how the supply of materials and facilities are stretched. Extracts from the article are below:

Andrey Zarur, boss of GreenLight Biosciences, a firm in Boston that is developing an mrna vaccine, says his company has employees whose entire job, at present, is to work the phones trying to find gmp facilities in which to make their vaccine. There is, though, nothing available. He is therefore looking to buy firms whose vaccine candidates have turned out not to work, simply in order to acquire the facilities in question.

Supplies of raw materials such as nucleotides are also tight. According to Dr Zarur, Thermo Fisher, an American chemical-supplies company, has spent $200m on a new facility in Lithuania to make these molecules, though the firm itself would not confirm this.

For mrna systems, Drs Weissman and Zarur say it would take a couple of months to go from new variant to large-scale vaccine production.


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