Keeping tabs on Covid-19: AstraZeneca ups nasal-spray vaccine production and air cargo industry preps vaccine distribution

As pharmaceutical companies race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, it remains unclear how the vaccine will impact global supply chains, specifically logistics requirements and the air cargo industry

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With the World Health Organization this week publishing a list of the latest Covid-19 candidate vaccines from around the world, Pharma IQ’s weekly round-up looks at developments from the past seven days including news on how the pharma industry plans to handle vaccine disruption and flu season.

New pharma partnership prepares air cargo industry for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma.Aero have joined forces to develop global guidance for the air cargo industry designed to optimize transportation of a Covid-19 vaccine.

To address concerns around how a vaccine would affect global supply chain operations, the joint working group has implemented a program involving key industry stakeholders, including pharma manufacturers and logistics firms, which will manage the knock-on effects of vaccine distribution. 

The aim of the program will be to provide the air cargo industry with more clarity on the demands, expectations and quality supply chain requirements, including critical trade lanes, air cargo capacity, handling and storage, track and trace requirements for the transportation of a vaccine.

Neel Jones Shah, TIACA board member and Global Head of Airfreight at Flexport, said: “Covid-19 vaccine delivery will be one of the biggest logistical challenges in modern history.

“No one company can own the end-to-end vaccine supply chain. We need to start working together now to ensure the industry is prepared when the time comes,” he added.

Nathan De Valck, chairman of Pharma.Aero., commented: “Setting up reliable end-to-end air transportation for pharma shippers is part of the vision and mission of Pharma.Aero. Among our members, [which include] life sciences and pharmaceutical shippers, certified airport communities and air cargo operators, we have a track record of project-based collaboration.

“As a result, Pharma.Aero is well-positioned to make a valuable contribution in preparing the air cargo industry for this immense challenge,” De Valck, added.

AstraZeneca to ramp up production of nasal-spray vaccine in case of a Covid-19 resurgence

AstraZeneca has announced the production volume of Flumist, a nasal-spray vaccine to fight influenza, has been increased in anticipation of higher demand due to Covid-19.

In a statement, AstraZeneca claimed more than 25 per cent more doses than previously planned of the nasal spray vaccine would be available to the commercial market in the US as early as September 2020. The increased production of the nasal spray is part of the pharma industry’s efforts to help reduce the burden on the healthcare system and ensure resources are available should there be a resurgence or continuation at present levels of Covid-19.

Mina Makar, SVP, US Respiratory and Immunology at AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca has increased manufacturing capacity and accelerated vaccine development to ensure we can confidently meet the needs of consumers and the healthcare system.

“We are proud to provide Flumist – the only nasal-spray flu vaccine – which helps play a key role in the fight against flu in the US.”

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