Pharmaceutical companies are currently racing to develop the world’s first vaccine for the novel coronavirus. However, there is a shortage in the supply of glass vials, and this could delay the development of potential vaccines.
According to ABC News, drugmakers are now finding it hard to acquire a very important tool in making life-saving drugs and vaccines: glass vial.
Glass vials play an important role in the production of drugs and vaccines. They are also used to give patients shots of these medications. However, it has been determined recently that there’s been a shortage of these glass vials.
BIO Vice President of Infectious Diseases Phyllis Arthur said that the glass market is slow-growing and relatively fixed, so shortages are inevitable from time to time. Since there are only a few manufacturers of the vials, there could be a problem when vaccine doses are to be dispensed.
Arthur noted that the current shortage is understandable considering that there is an “extraordinary surge” in demand for the product amid the race for the first coronavirus vaccine.
In May, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Dr. Rick Bright issued a warning that major pharmaceutical tubing suppliers have already sold out of borosilicate tubing. At the time, he advised the government officials to come up with an immediate plan on how to prevent more shortages.
“It could take up to two years to produce enough vials for U.S. vaccine needs, while some therapeutics will also require vials,” Bright stated in his whistleblower complaint.
The shortage could delay vaccine production and worsen the coronavirus situation that the country is facing. As of late, over 470,000 deaths have been documented all over the world. The delay could lead to more deaths if not addressed as soon as possible.
However, the director of the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center Dr. John Mascola said that the U.S. government is actually working with several vaccine manufacturers to ensure that their vaccines would be available in large quantities once the trials are done.
It is also important to note that the federal government has spent millions of dollars just to increase domestic manufacturing capacity of the vials.