Unlike most medicines that cure or treat an existing disease or infection, vaccines prime our own immune systems to be ready and waiting for an invading micro-organism so that it can destroy the infecting pathogen before we become ill. Throughout the ongoing Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, for example, laboratories around the globe worked tirelessly to find a vaccine. With the health and lives of people all over the world at stake, speed to market was — and remains — critical. As we all now know, it’s not just individuals that are susceptible to the massive consequences COVID-19, entire societies and economic systems are under threat.

Technologies for global vaccine production

Despite the incredible advances that have been made in recent years, it still takes considerable time to bring an effective vaccine from the research and development stage to commercial production; before mass administration, we need to be sure that it works safely … for everyone! As such, governments, politicians and the general public alike are questioning why it takes 3–5 years to bring an industrial-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant to full operational functionality.

Furthermore, they want to know what can be done about it. GEA believes that the key to significantly shortening this timeframe is modularization, digitalization and collaboration. By subscribing to a philosophy of standardization, a digitally enhanced project delivery process and keeping the number of interfaces to a minimum, significant gains can be made. Based on a foundation of trust and existing know-how, working within a partnership can reduce the complexity, cost and risk of successful drug production.

GEA separation expertise

Recognizing the increased need for novel solutions and high-performance equipment as the world tackles the “corona-crisis,” GEA has shaped decades of experience into a new selection of plug-and-produce separator skid units. Optimally designed for both standard and custom requirements, two comprehensive and sophisticated separator lines Aseptic and Pure and one revolutionary multi-bowl solution flexChange are energizing the industry.

Such is the global need for this cutting-edge technology, 17 GEA Pharma Separator aseptic C centrifuge skid units have recently been sold to a Chinese biopharmaceutical company to quickly and safely make large quantities of a COVID-19 vaccine. Also, based on demand and the absolute necessity to ramp up vaccine production, sales inquiries have also been received from pharmaceutical customers in North America and Europe.

Ensuring vaccines are viable on arrival

Manufacturing a single batch of vaccine can take several months and includes multiple steps, sometimes finishing with a freeze-drying process. This enabling technology means that delicate, unstable or heat-sensitive drugs and biologicals can be dried at low temperatures without damaging their structure. Subsequently, they have a long shelf-life, do not need to be refrigerated during storage and can be transported more easily to challenging and remote areas. Of particular benefit in many emerging economies, freeze-dried products can be reconstituted both quickly and easily.

GEA smart solutions

Manufacturers now need to make the best use of existing intelligent technologies and solutions, adhere to current standards and regulations, and focus on mutually agreed targets and incentives. Delays can cost millions of dollars … and potentially thousands of lost lives. 

By taking a smarter and more collaborative approach, GEA is confident that we can fast-track plant production to tackle this socially devastating pandemic in the shortest possible timeframe. Talk to us today to find out how we can quickly bring your project to a successful conclusion and your product to market quickly.

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