An active substance in the COVID-19 vaccine comes from Wallonia23/06/2020

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has selected French company Novasep to supply the active substance for its potential future COVID-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford and intended for Europe. And this substance will be produced on its Belgian site in Seneffe. It is set to create around 100 jobs. Wallonia thereby confirms its role as a biotech hub, particularly for the development of a vaccine against coronavirus.

AstraZeneca recently signed an agreement with Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for an advance order of 400 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine for the European Union.  If the vaccine project is successful, EU member countries will have first access to doses, as will any other partner countries who want it.

The vaccine is still in the test phase, but the University of Oxford hopes to complete it by autumn for distribution in 2021. Some doses could even be delivered in October.

In 2017, the Lyon-based company Novasep, the European leader in the production of viral vectors, opened a new production unit in Seneffe, in addition to its existing site in Gosselies. The Hainault site "may use the local biopharmaceutical ecosystem to quickly mobilise the additional human resources needed for this project", explained the company.

Novasep will dedicate specific production zones and resources to the project and will also maintain its existing production capacities.

According to the World Health Organisation, 118 companies around the world are working on a coronavirus vaccine. Eight are already in the test phase, including that developed in Oxford, according to L'Echo.

Charleroi Airport © AWEX-WBI/photo de Pascal Broze

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