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Italy seeks internal production of Covid mRNA vaccines

Italy seeks internal production of Covid mRNA vaccines

Italy has spoken to several manufacturers about producing Covid-19 vaccines based on mRNA in the country, as a final sign that European officials want to deepen those supplies through other types of firing.

Rome has discussed domestic production of mRNA-based vaccines with Moderna biotechnology in the US, Novartis in Switzerland and ReiThera in Italy, according to people who knew the subject.

Recent interviews with Novartis and ReiThera included the opportunity to produce an mRNA vaccine developed by Germany’s CureVac in Italy, two people said.

It was signed by Novartis in Basel initial agreement With CureVac in March to manufacture some of the company’s coronavirus vaccines. The shot is still in phase 3 testing, but German biotechnology he said this week he hoped the vaccine would be approved for use in the EU in May or June. ReiThera is developing its own adenovirus-based jab, but is still in phase 2 testing.

Talks between Novartis, ReiThera and the Italian government were in the early stages, people said, and they may not reach a final agreement. Novartis, ReiThera and CureVac declined to comment.

In addition, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has spoken directly with Stéphane Bancel, the director general of Modern, as other people familiar with the matter have said. The discussion failed, as people said that Modern did not have the capacity to supervise the workers with the necessary experience to transfer the technology to Italian manufacturing sites or to increase production.

Modern does not want to comment. Previously, he noted the general shortage of skilled vaccine staff as a limit to the spread of manufacturing.

Italy’s effort to secure the production of Covid plans based on mRNA, to deliver the vaccine using the new technology to the body, seems to be moving the EU away from adenovirus-based vaccines created by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Several European nations have reduced or discontinued the use of the AstraZeneca shot after the European Medicines Agency found a causal link with a very rare side effect of blood clots. The spread of J&J, a similar type of vaccine, has also been delayed while US and EU authorities are examining a possible link.

EU member states believe they have felt particularly bad about their dealings with AstraZeneca, which has also failed to meet its delivery targets, as supply projections have dropped to the block several times.

“Now we need to focus on technologies that have proven their value,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. “MRNA vaccines are a clear case.” Brussels is now in talks with BioNTech / Pfizer, which is producing one of the leading mRNA vaccines, reaching an agreement between 1.8 billion doses between 2022-23.

There is no suggestion that doses made in Italy would be stored only for the country. On the contrary, they would boost European manufacturing capacity and use Brussels to comply with current and future agreements for the acquisition of vaccines negotiated by Brussels on behalf of EU member states.

A Commission official said Brussels was pleased with Rome’s “commitment to vaccine production” and was aware of relations between Italian authorities and companies. EU member states ’moves to boost vaccine production were“ complementary ”to the efforts of the commissions and are regularly coordinated, the official added.

Acknowledgments about the export of vaccines and the fact that people may be asked to shoot every year have increased incentives for politicians to increase domestic production. Last month, Draghi said the EU’s ability to produce its vaccines was as important as military spending.

“People talk a lot about strategic autonomy, often
a reference to defense, security, a single market, “he said
I think the first strategic autonomy today should be vaccines. “

Giancarlo Giorgetti, the economic development minister who would be in charge of new manufacturing, also said that Italy and the EU “must ensure that we own ourselves
vaccine production ”.

An Italian official, however, said Rome was focused
meeting this year’s vaccine supply and daily vaccination goals
than long-term plans. He was denied by the Ministry of Economic Development, as well as the Ministry of Health.

Additional report by Erika Solomon in Berlin and Hannah Kuchler in London

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