LANSING — The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has teamed up with the German biotech company BioTech in beginning a historic trial to test the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19. The trial is part of a global development program and the dosing of the first testing group, or cohort, was completed last week in Germany. The first participants in the U.S. have also now been dosed as part of the trial.
Sites currently dosing participants include the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, with the University of Rochester Medical Center/Rochester Regional Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to begin enrollment shortly.
If successful, the trials will lead to production of the vaccine on a large scale to meet global supply, with the two drug manufacturers considering the production of millions of vaccine doses this year, increasing to hundreds of millions in 2021. Pfizer-owned sites in three states (Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri) and Puurs, Belgium have been picked as manufacturing sites.
The company’s clinical trial supply will be made at sites in Andover, Massachusetts and Chesterfield, Missouri, and the initial manufacturing will be conducted in Kalamazoo. Today, Governor Whitmer welcomed this news.
“This is great news for our families, our neighbors and those serving on the front lines during this crisis,” Whitmer said. “COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable our country is when it comes to supply chain and much of the lifesaving materials we need are manufactured out of the country.
“That’s why we are so proud that one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world is the Pfizer site right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, Michigan has a strong history of vaccine development with the polio and anthrax vaccines. Pfizer is a great partner and the state of Michigan and our strong manufacturing roots stand ready to serve.”
Above: A video of the BNT162 vaccine manufacturing process