Europe has the highest share in the global production of vaccines for the year 2019, according to the data from Vaccines Europe. The following is the breakdown of global vaccine production f0r the year 2019:
At 76 percent, Europe has the largest contribution in vaccine production for the previous year. It is followed by North America which accounts for 13 percent of the vaccines produced in 2019 while Asia contributed 8 percent. Lastly, the rest of the world produced the remaining 3 percent.
According to Vaccines Europe, 11 European countries are currently producing these vaccines across 27 vaccine production sites. Meanwhile, eight European countries are working on the discovery of next-generation vaccines across 12 research sites.
Apart from being a focus of research and development in the European Union (EU), the vaccine industry also serves as a significant contributor in the creation of jobs. In 2016 alone, a total of 122,000 jobs were generated directly and indirectly in the EU.
Europe and the COVID-19 pandemic
According to Vaccines Europe, their members are committed in contributing to the research efforts in the development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus.
One of its members, the Germany-based CureVac, is known to be in the early stages of developing a coronavirus vaccine. There are rumours of the Trump administration attempting to acquire the company or its current work to gain exclusive rights on the firm’s coronavirus program, quickly causing uproar in various social media platforms. However, CureVac acting CEO Franz-Werner Hass dispelled these rumours.
“There was and there is no takeover offer from the White House or governmental authorities. Neither to the technology nor to CureVac at all as a company,” Haas said.
The European Commission offered up to €80 million of financial support to CureVac in order to enable a larger scale development and production of the coronavirus vaccine.
“In this public health crisis it is of utmost importance that we support our leading researchers and tech companies,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
Previously, CureVac’s technology which is based on the messenger RNA (mRNA) enabled the development of a solution to the long-standing issue of preserving vaccines without refrigeration.
This same mRNA-based technology is shown to have a promising potential in combating the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. The biopharmaceutical company is now aiming for human clinical trials of the vaccine starting June.
“I am proud that we have leading companies like CureVac in the EU. Their home is here. But their vaccines will benefit everyone, in Europe and beyond,” van der Leyen commented.
On the whole, this funding offer to CureVac is part of the EU’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In their response, the EU mobilised all possible means to aid EU countries in mitigating the impact of the pandemic in medicine, mobility, and the economy. The European Commission reported that they have mobilised up to €140 million in public and private funding to support the critically needed research for the on-going pandemic.