We all know the COVID-19 vaccine was developed in record time, but have you pondered how the manufacturing facilities were built to support mass production and distribution? A recent Fast Company article took a look inside these quick-build factories and shed some light on how they were built concurrently with vaccine development. Typically, this process would take years, but Lonza employed a new method that expedited the process to just months.
Because the vaccine was still in development, they couldn’t build a new factory specific to it. Instead, they created shells of buildings that could be modified quickly for various purposes. The shells were preemptively connected to central infrastructure to provide utilities pertinent to bioproduction such as sterile water, steam, and gas. With these shells, the builders were able to drop in the manufacturing technology required for the specific vaccine.