Covid-19: a vaccine may be manufactured in Belgium


Two companies, BioNTech and Pfizer, have announced that the first volunteers in the United States have received an experimental vaccine in the fight against Covid-19.

 About 360 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 are being vaccinated in the course of this study. 200 people in Germany will be involved at a later stage. The test results will only be announced in June. If they are positive, the test will be extended to a series of new healthy participants, but ones who also demonstrate risk.

If their clinical development programme is successful, both companies expect to increase their production capacity in order to be able to supply the vaccine worldwide. Pfizer sites in three American states plus the Belgian district of Puurs have all been allocated as production centres for the vaccine, while further sites are still to be selected.

Directer of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium, Luc Van Steenwinkel, says he is ‘particularly proud that the Pfizer site in Belgium has been chosen to play an important role in the production of a potential vaccine against Covid-19.’ He says this is ‘recognition of its global expertise and the know-how and experience of its approximately 3,000 employees.’ The programme should allow millions of doses to be made in 2020, and a further hundreds of millions in 2021.