At every stage of the production process there is a continuous demand to test, record, analyse, report, confirm and verify. AstraZeneca’s many years of experience manufacturing our live virus influenza vaccine means that our COVID-19 vaccine operation was built on solid foundations and strong expertise.
Only through comprehensive planning, creative thinking, rapid problem solving, continuous collaboration with all our partners, and 24/7 commitment, have we been able to contribute to the global effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Hunt "How the vaccine is produced"
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Our supply chain includes multiple manufacturing facilities across each stage of production -drug substance, drug product, and finished packaging. These partners will collaborate with us throughout the entire manufacturing process, receiving support and technical guidance.
Before manufacturing can begin, the process is validated to ensure essential conditions, controls, testing, and outcomes are achieved. Once manufacturing is underway, robust quality assurance processes reduce the possibility of unexpected changes to the vaccine during production.
Bulk vaccine substance is tested for safety and purity, and the finished product is tested for efficacy, quality and consistency. Some batches are also tested for stability to check how long they can be stored and that they will not be affected by the changes in air temperature, pressure or the vibration they may experience on their journey to patients in remote places.
Learn from Veera Padmanabhan, COVID-19 Vaccine Analytical Lead, and Darrin Cowley, Head of Development, Biologics on just this.
Each batch of the vaccine undergoes more than 40 different quality control tests during its journey from lab to jab. As the vaccine is based on biological materials, some of these tests take at least a month to complete, and cannot be rushed. However, where possible, we are performing this testing in parallel with the next phase of production to ensure that the batches move forward as rapidly as possible.
AstraZeneca is continually identifying and implementing new ways of working that will accelerate production of COVID-19 vaccine and reduce the time to reach communities.