ISPE joins hands with Rieckermann to share insights on how to overcome the challenges of a pandemic in vaccine manufacture
Due to COVID-19, many countries have been scrambling to ensure there is sufficient supply of vaccines to protect their populations and rebuild their economies. The rise of the pandemic has had a massive impact on the global pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, resulting in a shortage of essential medical supplies and a massive demand for the vaccine manufacturing industry to ramp up the production of COVID-19 vaccines. In light of urgent demand, many countries are also opting to produce vaccines locally in order to be self-sufficient, with vaccines becoming “the superstar of the pharmaceutical world”.
However, vaccine manufacturing is a process that comes with many complex requirements and strict regulations. Not only does the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines alter over time due to the ongoing mutation of the virus, but many other requirements must be considered in the manufacturing process such as the reliability of supply, factory capacity, availability of qualified and trained staff, sufficient cold store space, and a robust quality management system to cope with continuously high output and the production of large quantities in a short lead time.
To address the challenges being faced by the vaccine manufacturing industry in the light of the pandemic, the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) of Malaysia, in collaboration with Rieckermann, jointly organized a virtual seminar to share their insights about “Vaccine manufacture – meeting the challenges of a pandemic”. The seminar introduced the big picture of vaccine manufacturing around the world, covering the need to develop new vaccine production capability or ramp up existing production to meet current demand. The topics also include COVID-19 and vaccines that are currently available, as well as various vaccine manufacturing methods.
The seminar, which took place on October 13, 2021, was attended by over 300 participants, including academics, students, and personnel of pharmaceutical companies from 22 different countries across the world. The first presentation of the day by Rieckermann addressed the consequences and changes we can expect for pharmaceutical manufacturing due to COVID. It provided a view of what is required for a quick future reaction to meet demands. Rieckermann then shared their know-how on the process and facility design considerations for vaccine manufacturing and the fill and finish process, the fill and finish equipment, and dosage forms, as well as the equipment around filling.
These topics were presented by a team of engineering and pharmaceutical experts from Rieckermann. Guest speakers from Sartorius Stedim and HOF Sonderanlagenbau, who are Rieckermann’s partners in the pharmaceutical industry, were also invited to speak about vaccines under consideration of cold chain, specifically with reference to disposable bags and respective freeze and thaw systems. Sartorius Stedim and HOF Sonderanlagenbau are experts in laboratory technologies and equipment for the pharma and food industries, as well as specializing in freeze drying solutions.
“On behalf of ISPE Malaysia, we are very pleased with the amount of interest that we have received from this virtual seminar,” said Zarina Noordin, President of the ISPE Malaysia Affiliate. “Vaccine manufacture is certainly a timely subject for the pharmaceutical industry, and anyone who is involved or wishes to get involved in this subject shall certainly benefit from the know-how and invaluable insights offered by a professional and knowledgeable solution provider like Rieckermann in such events. In 2022, ISPE Malaysia will celebrate its 10-year anniversary and we look forward to many more years of hosting successful events such as these.”