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Why is it tough to produce vaccines and to improve supplies?




A disappointed public and decision makers want to know: How do we do more of the need for COVID-19 vaccines outside the global provision? Far more. Much more. Right now. – Right now.

The problem: “This is not like adding more water to the soup,” says Baylor College of Medicine vaccine specialist Maria Elena Bottazzi.

COVID-19 vaccines require what they can to do as demand grows to hundreds of millions — and any minor hipping could lead to a pause. Certain of its ingredients were never manufactured before with the necessary number.

And seemingly straightforward claims that new vaccines cannot be developed overnight by other plants. Just this week, French drugmaker Sanofi took the unprecedented step of revealing that it would assist bottle producer Pfizer and German partner BioNTech in the packing of such vaccines. But these doses will not be taken until the autumn, and Sanofi has only room for his own vaccine in a factory in Germany as poor news about global supply is postponed.

“We say, ‘Okay, it’s like shirts of guys, okay? Dr. Paul Offit from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a U.S. government vaccination advisor, said. “I’ll just have another place to do it.” “Not so easy.” “Easy.”


In various countries all the numerous forms of COVID-19 vaccines are used to prepare the body to identify the new coronavirus, much of which spike protein. But various technologies, raw materials, machinery and know-how are required for this.

The two vaccines approved so far in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna, are created inside a small ball of fat by placing a piece of genetic code called mRNA, the instructions for the spike protein.

It is possible to create tiny quantities of mRNA in a research laboratory, but “before that, no one produced a billion doses or 100 million or even a million mRNA doses,” said Dr. Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania, who helped pioneer mRNA science.

Scaling up doesn’t just mean the products multiply to suit a larger vat. A chemical reaction between genetic building blocks and enzymes is involved in producing mRNA, and Weissman said the enzymes do not function in greater quantities as effectively.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, already used in Britain and many other nations, and one predicted shortly by Johnson & Johnson, is created from a cold virus that sneaks the gene of the spike protein into the body. It’s a very different method of production: in giant bioreactors, living cells evolve the cold virus, which is removed and purified.

Weissman said, “If the cells get old or tired or start changing, you might get less.” “There’s a lot more variability and you have to check a lot more things.”

An old-fashioned version needs still more measures and more stiffer biosecurity since they are manufactured with killed coronavirus, “inactivated” vaccines such as those made by China’s Sinovac.

Both vaccines have one thing in common: they must be manufactured under stringent rules requiring specially inspected equipment and regular monitoring of each phase, a time-consuming requirement to be secure in the efficacy of each sample.

What is the chain of supply?

Production relies on raw materials that are necessary. Pfizer and Moderna say they have suppliers that are secure.

Even so, a spokeswoman for the U.S. government said logistics consultants collaborate closely with vaccine producers to predict and overcome any bottlenecks that exist.

Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, accepts the problems exist.

With changes going 24/7, if one raw material is absent on any given day, we will not start manufacturing goods and the potential will be lost permanently and we will not make it up,” he told investors recently.”

For some weeks, Pfizer has been briefly delaying delivery in Europe, so it could upgrade its Belgian factory to accommodate more demand.

And the batches fall short occasionally. AstraZeneca told the outraged European Union that it, too, would quickly deliver smaller doses than initially promised. The explanation cited: in some European manufacturing sites, smaller than planned “yields,” or production.

More than in other sectors, “there are things that can go wrong and will go wrong when brewing with biological ingredients,” said Norman Baylor, a former vaccine head of the Food and Drug Administration who called yield variability normal.

How much of it is on the way?

That varies according to region. By the end of March, Moderna and Pfizer are each on target to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. and a further 100 million in the second quarter of the year. Thinking even more forward, President Joe Biden has revealed plans to procure more over the summer, enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans finally.

This week, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told a Bloomberg conference that his business will likely end up distributing 120 million doses by the end of March, not by accelerated development, but because health staff are now allowed to squeeze an extra dose from each vial.

Yet getting six doses instead of five involves the use of advanced syringes, and global supply issues occur. The U.S. is shipping kits that contain the special syringes for each Pfizer shipment, a Health and Human Services spokeswoman said.

Pfizer has claimed that the plant upgrade in Belgium is short-term pain for longer-term benefit, as the improvements would help boost worldwide supply this year to 2 billion doses instead of the initially planned 1.3 billion.

Likewise, Moderna recently announced that it will be able to produce 600 million doses of vaccine in 2021, up from 500 million in 2021, and that capability will be extended in hopes of reaching 1 billion.

But maybe the best way to get additional doses is if it is confirmed that other vaccines in the pipeline are working. U.S. evidence on whether the one-dose shot prevents Johnson & Johnson is anticipated shortly, and there is still another firm, Novavax, in final-stage research.

Any Choices

In the U.S. and Europe, the chief vaccine firms lined up “contract manufacturers” for months to help them churn out doses and then endure the final steps of bottling. For starters, Moderna is working with Lonza of Switzerland.

In addition to rich nations, India’s Serum Institute has a deal to produce a billion doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is the main producer of vaccines in the world and is expected to be a primary provider to developed countries.

Yet several homegrown attempts to raise stocks are hobbled. Two Brazilian research institutes intend to manufacture millions of doses of vaccines for AstraZeneca and Sinovac, but mysterious delays in shipments of essential ingredients from China have put them back.

And Bottazzi said that at the same time, the world would continue to manufacture vaccines against influenza, measles, meningitis and other illnesses, which are still at risk even in the middle of a pandemic.

Penn’s Weissman encouraged patience, saying that “I think every month they will make more vaccines than the previous month,” as each vaccine maker gets more experience.

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Charlie Baker attends groundbreaking at Norwood Hospital, damaged by 2020 flood



Charlie Baker attends groundbreaking at Norwood Hospital, damaged by 2020 flood

Gov. Charlie Baker attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Norwood to mark the start of construction on a new hospital in the town after the old one was damaged in a June 2020 flood.

“There will be a beautiful new hospital here and this hospital will continue to provide care and service to this community for at least another 100 years,” Baker said. “But that wipeout that took place that day, that was another profound example of how you can’t always predict what every day is going to be like.”

Norwood Town Manager Tony Mazzucco said emergency rescuers evacuated over 100 people from the hospital that night during the pandemic and the storm without any injuries to patients or first responders.

The hospital is set to reopen in 2024.

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Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom relishes his citizenship



Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom relishes his citizenship

A day after officially becoming a United States citizen, and the morning after his on-air chat with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the self-renamed Enes Kanter Freedom felt like the embodiment of the first amendment.

His outspoken attacks on China — the nation with a heavy commercial connection to the NBA — and American cronies like Nike and his own league, span the network spectrum. He’s also been interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and MSNBC.

But as on opening night, when Freedom says he refused a request by two NBA representatives to not wear his Free Tibet sneakers, he claims to not be breaking any league rules.

“I had a conversation with Adam — Adam Silver — and I told Adam, ‘Listen, am I breaking any rules?’ And he said no,” said Freedom, who has since worn an expanding list of protest sneakers. I told him, I was like, ‘If there’s any rules that I’m breaking or I’m violating, let me know. I’ll be the first one to follow.’ And he said, ‘No, you’re not violating any rules.’ And I was like, ‘Adam — you’re guys are the ones that are telling us and encouraging players to stand up for what’s right, not just the problems in America, but all over the world. So you guys are the ones that encouraged me to talk about all the violations that are happening all over the world, right?’ And he was like, ‘Listen, you have the freedom to say whatever you want.’ And I was like, ‘I appreciate that.’

Freedom admittedly had periods of frustration, including when he started the season out of Ime Udoka’s rotation. His tweet — “Keep limiting me on the court, I will expose you off the court” — was generally interpreted as an insinuation that his playing time was linked to his political stances and activism.

Kanter sat down to discuss the tweet with Udoka, and was told that his lack of minutes had everything to do with playing behind Al Horford and Robert Williams, and nothing to do with Tibet’s freedom.

“And after that talk, I’ve played every game,” said Freedom. “I mean, yeah, that’s how I felt, and I put it out there, and coach Ime came to me and said that’s not the situation. And I said, ‘OK.’ And after that talk, I pretty much played every game.”

With Rob Williams expected to play Wednesday night, there could be another minutes shift, though Freedom’s bulk will be needed against Joel Embiid. But regardless of how much he plays, Freedom will continue pushing the issue.

Freedom said he would like to talk with LeBron James, an outspoken social advocate who has always remained silent about his commercial partner, China. Freedom would at least like to bring clarity to his ongoing beef with the Lakers star.

“Sure, I’d love to sit down and talk to him. I’m sure it’s going to be a very uncomfortable conversation for him,” said Freedom. “I don’t know if he’s gonna want that. I’ll make that really comfortable for him. I don’t know if he’s educated enough but I’m here to educate him and I’m here to help him, because it’s not about money. It’s about morals, principles and values. It’s about what you stand for. There are way bigger things than money. If LeBron stopped making money now, his grandkids and grandkids and grandkids can have the best life ever. I feel like it’s definitely time for athletes to stand up for the things they believe in, and stand up for the things, not just in America issues, but all over the world.”

Freedom, who has also called out Michael Jordan for his political silence, said he feels no hesitation when criticizing the biggest names in the sport.

“I mean, my whole life I was never scared of anything. Not many people know this but whenever I sit down with an NBA player, they are telling me that they want to talk about many of the issues that are happening but they are scared because of the challenges they will face,” said Freedom. “The thing is, whenever I talk about LeBron, whenever I talk about Michael Jordan, the Black athletes in the league are the ones reaching out to me and saying, ‘Listen, talk about this person.’ They are the ones that actually — not many people know this — but they are the ones giving me talking points.

“When Black Lives Matter protests happened, I was the third one in the whole league that went out there and protested. I was actually wearing my jersey, I wanted them to know that I am with them. I am with them, it’s not them, it’s us, it’s all of us. But when these issues are happening, some of the other players out there in the league are scared to say anything against LeBron or Jordan or against some of the issues that are happening, but they are reaching out to me and giving me talking points and say, ‘Listen, talk about LeBron.’

“It’s amazing but he’s at least standing up for things in America. Why don’t you say anything about Michael Jordan? The only thing he is doing is just giving money but he is remaining silent. He’s scared to speak up. Silence is violence so they are the ones sending me all the talking points and if I believe in it, then I’m going out and saying it. Because, like I said, I’m not really scared of anything because this is bigger than basketball. It’s important to not have that fear and I hope more players will join me.”

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BC OL’s Alec Lindstrom, Zion Johnson named All-ACC first team



BC OL’s Alec Lindstrom, Zion Johnson named All-ACC first team

Boston College center Alec Lindstrom and guard Zion Johnson were named All-ACC first team selections the league announced on Tuesday. Lindstrom and Johnson are projected to go near the top of the 2022 NFL Draft at their positions.

BC had 12 players receive recognition including the entire offensive line. Guard Christian Mahogany was selected to the second team, right tackle Ben Petrula made the third team and left tackle Tyler Vrabel was honorable mention.

Sophomore running back Pat Garwo, who became the 19th BC player to rush for 1.000-yards in season, and junior nickel back Josh DeBerry were second team selections.

Wide receiver Zay Flowers and cornerback Brandon Sebastian were named to the third team. Tight end Trae Barry, safety Jaiden Woodbey and defensive end Marcus Valdez were honorable mention.

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