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October 22, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – Novartis extends fill and finish contract for Pfizer vaccine – UK adds Guillain-Barré Syndrome to list of possible AZ shot adverse events

By Chris Lo

Novartis will extend its support for the fill and finish of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine using its production expertise. As per the deal, Novartis intends to fill a minimum of 24 million doses next year, leveraging sterile production sites at its technical operations plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia. BioNTech will provide the bulk messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) active ingredient and Novartis will fill it into vials under sterile conditions. The finished product will be shipped back to BioNTech for supply.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has included a rare autoimmune nerve disorder to the list of possible side effects of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, Reuters reported. The agency revised vaccine adverse events to include Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a paralysis-inducing disorder of the nervous system. Nearly 432 cases of GBS potentially linked to the shot and 26 cases of Miller Fisher Syndrome were reported to the MHRA.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the usage of a 50µg booster dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for individuals who are aged 65 years and above. Adults aged 18 to 64 years who at the greater risk of being infected with severe Covid-19 as well as those who are frequently exposed to the disease because of their work profile are eligible to get the shot. The latest recommendation comes after the Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization for the booster shot.

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