An inside Look at the Facility Producing Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine

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Currents News Staff

Two companies  Moderna and Pfizer  appear likely to be the first out of the gate with a coronavirus vaccine.

A manufacturing facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, plays a big role in Moderna’s production.

Instead of providing a non-active strain of the virus like a flu shot, the head of Lonza’s Engineering tells Currents News the vaccine focuses on a person’s DNA.

“So this goes in and reprograms the DNA to produce an anti-virus response to the virus itself,” Mark Caswell, head of Lonza Engineering Facilities, explained.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not need deep cold storage to survive.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says this means it can be delivered to more rural areas.

‘It can even be stored in a regular refrigerator for a number of days as well, and still have shelf stability and not degrade or deteriorate,” Dr. Shah added.

It certainly makes the supply chain for this vaccine very easy, compared to other vaccines that require that deep cold storage requirement,” agreed Casewell. 

Production is underway, but the timetable for when the vaccines will be ready is unknown.

‘All we do is supply the product, so I don’t know anything related to the potential of when that approval could come,” Casewell explained. 

Moderna says early results from clinical trials show its vaccine is almost 95 percent effective.

Both Pfizer and Moderna plan to apply for emergency use authorization.

A source familiar with the process says the FDA could make a decision about that as early as December 10.