Shortage of plastic growbags threatens global vaccine supply

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Drugmakers around the world are facing a shortage of large plastic growbags used in part of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing process, The Guardian reported. 

Stan Erck, CEO of Novavax, told the publication that the shortage of the growbags has been a significant hurdle for the global vaccine supply. The 2,000-liter bags are where vaccine cells are grown, according to The Guardian

Manufacturers have said that some drugmakers are waiting up to 12 months for the growbags, which are used to make the Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines, among other drugs. 

Novavax almost ran out of bags at one of its factories early this year, but Mr. Erck told The Guardian the company has enough suppliers to avoid disruption of the supply of Novavax's vaccine, which has not been authorized. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific plans to double its manufacturing capacity of the growbags this year, The Guardian reported. The U.S. has blocked exports of the bags, as well as filters and other supplies used to make the vaccines. 

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