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Blueprint for making millions of doses of new vaccine within 100 days published

Scientists believe it could enable Oxford’s ChAdOx vaccines to hit the moonshot objective set by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

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The paper also describes how bulk manufacturing could be modified in the future to approximately quadruple the rate of vaccine production from each vaccine factory (Martin Rickett/PA)

The paper also describes how bulk manufacturing could be modified in the future to approximately quadruple the rate of vaccine production from each vaccine factory (Martin Rickett/PA)

The paper also describes how bulk manufacturing could be modified in the future to approximately quadruple the rate of vaccine production from each vaccine factory (Martin Rickett/PA)

Researchers have published a blueprint for making millions of doses of a new vaccine within 100 days.

They say the new methods could enable clinical trials within 60 days of identification of a new virus.

The researchers believe their work could enable Oxford’s ChAdOx vaccines – like the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab – to hit the “moonshot” objective set by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

This aims to help reduce vaccine development timelines to 100 days from identification of a virus to mass production.

When a new virus is identified, vaccine production is a race against timeDr Sandy Douglas, Jenner Institute, University of Oxford

The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, sets out how quickly it would be possible to manufacture a new adenovirus-vectored vaccine at large scale.

Dr Sandy Douglas, who leads the vaccine manufacturing research group in the Jenner Institute, at the University of Oxford, said: “When a new virus is identified, vaccine production is a race against time.

“Some people think that adenovirus-vectored vaccines are slow to manufacture – and that’s just not true.”

He added: “The process of bulk manufacturing, filling into vials, and testing takes pretty much the same length of time for most vaccines.

“The thing that can vary is how long it takes to prepare to start manufacturing.

“For an adenovirus-vectored vaccine, the key bit of preparation which is needed is to make a ‘seed’ virus.

“That’s the only thing that needs to change to make a new vaccine – so we’ve looked carefully at how to make that seed quickly.

In a pandemic, saving a few days could save many livesDr Sandy Douglas, Jenner Institute, University of Oxford

“In a pandemic, saving a few days could save many lives.”

In the paper, most of the pipeline for viral seed production described involves “tried and tested” methods.

According to the researchers, relatively simple enhancements have allowed the acceleration of the process.

Dr Douglas said: “Manufacturing should no longer be a problem in hitting this goal.

“Vaccine developers now need to focus on how to accelerate the other critical steps, especially early financial decision-making and clinical trials.”

The paper also describes how bulk manufacturing could be modified in the future to approximately quadruple the rate of vaccine production from each vaccine factory, and to further lower the cost of the vaccine.

One billion vaccine doses could be supplied within 130 days of identification of a new virus – a quarter of the time taken by the current Covid jabs – if factories were on standby to use the new method described, the team suggests.

The new process uses a method called perfusion, which the academics say is like giving the manufacturing process a kidney.

This is because it allows the removal of waste products which can slow down vaccine production, and allows constant replenishment of the culture with fresh nutrients.

The researchers collaborated with two equipment suppliers, Sartorius and Repligen, which provided advance access to newly developed tools.

The pre-print has been submitted to BioRxiv.

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