What We’re Reading: Vaccine Delivery to Increase; FDA Issues Hand Sanitizer Alert; Sanofi, BioNTech/Pfizer to Partner

The Biden administration promises to increase vaccine delivery; the FDA issues an alert on alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico; 3 pharma giants partner to speed EU vaccination efforts.

COVID-19 Vaccine Supply to Increase by 50%

A delivery of 200 million more coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine doses by the summer, on top of the 400 million already manufactured, is in the works by the Biden administration, The Washington Post reports. In addition, as early as next week—and lasting for 3 weeks—states could see a 16% bump in doses, from 8.6 to 10 million. By the end of March, Pfizer is promising to deliver 120 million additional doses of its vaccine, and Moderna, 100 million. Both have raised their yearly target doses, by 35% and 17%, respectively. Meanwhile, data on Johnson & Johnson’s 1-dose vaccine are expected within the week, which could help alleviate some of the concerns expressed by health officials about the current vaccine supply.

US Issues Alert on Hand Sanitizers From Mexico

Citing possible methanol, or wood alcohol, contamination, the FDA yesterday issued an import alert on alcohol-based hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico. The concern stems from products mislabeled as containing ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, when instead they test positive for the toxic and life-threatening agent methanol. According to FDA data, between April and December 2020, 84% of alcohol-based hand sanitizer samples for such products manufactured in Mexico failed to meet agency standards. Fourteen warning letters have been issued since June, with the most recent going to Laboratorios Jaloma S.A. de C.V. on Monday.

BioNTech/Pfizer Receive Sanofi Production Boost

Sanofi will give BioNTech production access to a Frankfurt, Germany, plant in order to boost the EU supply of its COVID-19 vaccine by over 125 million doses, according to Bloomberg. The move comes as Sanofi has pushed back the expected delivery date of its own vaccine to summer 2021. Other manufacturing partnerships are in the works, too. Lonza Group AG (based in Switzerland), which manufactures Moderna’s vaccine, has expressed its willingness to offer similar assistance, and JCR Pharmaceuticals is gearing up to increase Japan’s AstraZeneca vaccine stockpile by 90 million doses.