Maersk facilitating COVID-19 vaccine distribution

3:17am 2nd November 2020





COVAXX aims to send 1 billion doses around the globe in 2021

A.P. Møller – Maersk has inked a global logistics partnership with U.S. company COVAXX for delivery of COVAXX’s coronavirus vaccine.

COVAXX’s mission “is to defeat COVID-19 and ultimately democratize health worldwide. Maersk will help fulfill this mission by overseeing all logistics activities to ensure efficient transportation to developing countries,” this week’s announcement said.

“The agreement provides for end-to-end supply chain management, packing and shipping, via air or ocean, ground transportation, warehouse storage and distribution to facilities to support COVAXX’s requirements for a pharmaceutical grade, temperature-controlled supply chain,” it said. 

The world’s largest container carrier, Denmark-headquartered Maersk has more than 80,000 employees operating in 130 countries.

“Efficient and safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines around the world is the most urgent logistics challenge we face today. A.P. Møller – Maersk is committed to working closely with COVAXX to ensure smooth end-to-end global delivery of this vaccine as soon as it becomes available,” Rob Townley, Maersk’s head of special project logistics, said in a statement. 

COVAXX is developing UB-612, a multitope synthetic peptide-based vaccine to fight COVID-19. The Hauppauge, New York-based company, a subsidiary of United Biomedical, said it already has “advanced precommitments” from around the world for more than 100 million doses of the vaccine.   

Phase 1 clinical trials currently are being conducted in Taiwan, and COVAXX has an agreement with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to conduct Phase 2 trials in the United States once UB-612 receives regulatory approval. 

This week’s announcement said COVAXX is planning to manufacture 100 million doses of the vaccine early next year and 1 billion doses by the end of 2021. 

According to COVAXX, distribution of the vaccine will not require minus-80-degree-Celsius freezers (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit) or liquid nitrogen tanks to store materials at extreme temperatures. 

“The COVAXX vaccine is unique in that it can be stored in the fridge you have at home, moved in the same trucks that deliver groceries and administered anywhere you can get a flu shot,” said Lou Reese, COVAXX’s co-chief executive officer, in a statement.

Co-CEO Mei Mei Hu said Maersk was chosen as COVAXX’s supply chain partner because of its ability to meet large-scale demand.

“Our team, which now proudly includes Maersk, is committed to addressing the needs of countries where the greatest unmet needs exist today,” she said. “To do what is in the best interests of society at this time of the global health crisis, we are aligning with the strongest leaders in their respective industries to meet the large-scale demand and compliance requirements that we expect. 

“It is not enough to focus on vaccine development and approvals. We must work in parallel to establish the infrastructure and partners with the strongest capabilities, like Maersk, to safely deliver our vaccine around the world,” Hu said.

Maersk’s Townley said the shipping giant is ready. “Our specialized logistics expertise and the global infrastructure of Maersk make this a perfect match.”

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