UK COVID vaccine's smaller, single dose eases production and distribution

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Thursday, July 16, 2020
Action News coverage of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak

DARLINGTON, England (WPVI) -- While human trials continue at a London university on a promising coronavirus vaccine, the company assigned to make it is ramping up.

The vaccine being developed at Imperial College London is made from a tiny piece of genetic material from the virus called RNA.

The vaccine basically trains the immune system to respond to the coronavirus, then recognize it as a threat in the future.

In addition to being small, the vaccine only requires one dose, so a little bit goes a long way.

"Look at this container here. This is a five liter bottle, and this could potentially contain up to five million doses in there," said Lucy Foley, director of the biologic business unit at CPI.

But there are logistical challenges to solve in scaling up from an experimental platform to an industrial one.

"Imagine stirring and cup of tea with a spoon and then stirring a bucket with a spoon. You're not going to get same mixing effect."

When the manufacturing facility is up and running, each batch will only take about two weeks to make, so the company thinks it could make billions of doses in four or five months.