NBC Credits Trump Funding Effort to Mass-Produce Syringes for COVID Vaccine

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What is going on over that NBC News? On Monday, they threw Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo under the bus and reported on how he was forcing elderly coronavirus patients into nursing homes. Then, on Tuesday, they credited President Trump for funding a groundbreaking manufacturing technique that would allow syringes for vaccines to be produced faster, in greater number, and domestically.

“Even if a vaccine is developed, is the U.S. prepared to deliver the millions of doses that would be available? Experts say no, but our Gabe Gutierrez talked to a CEO who says his company can solve a critical roadblock,” announced anchor Lester Holt at the top of the NBC News exclusive.

Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez began by noting that the director for the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, was “sounding the alarm” during a Senate hearing earlier in the day over concerns for the U.S. was going to ramp up production of a coronavirus vaccine.

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“Late today, the Trump administration announced a new $138 million effort, called Project Jumpstart, to dramatically increase domestic production of syringes,” Gutierrez countered the concern. He then reported that, “The departments of Defense and Health and Human Services will now partner with health start-up Apiject Systems America. The company makes plastic prefilled syringes.”

Gutierrez sat down with Apiject CEO Jay Walker for an exclusive interview and found out what made their syringes so special. “[T]he syringe will be made faster and will cost less than $1 to produce. Much cheaper than the cost of making glass vials to hold vaccines,” Gutierrez said.

 

 

Their other big upside? They’re made here in America, without the risks of a global supply chain that runs through China, an American adversary: “And those glass vials are largely manufactured overseas. There’s also the stoppers needed to close the vial. Experts warn that our reliance on an overseas supply chain is a major national security issue.

Walker further explained the genius of their design:

Nobody has ever used an injectable, pre-filled syringe made of plastic in the tens of millions or even in the millions, because nobody had ever figured out how to attach a needle to a plastic-filled container with a drug.

(…)

Not only do they take six or more months to make, that’s if you need millions. If you need tens of millions or hundreds of millions, they could take way longer to make. So that’s a big problem.

Pointing out the desperate need for large quantities of a vaccine, Gutierrez added: “Public health experts say a COVID-19 vaccine might require two doses to ensure immunity. That would mean about 650 million doses just for the U.S. population alone.” Now, experts also tell us that not every person in the country needs to be vaccinated to like that to stop the spread of the virus, but it’s nice to know we might have the ability to produce that much soon.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Nightly News
May 12, 2020
7:17:34 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Now to that NBC News exclusive. Even if a vaccine is developed, is the U.S. prepared to deliver the millions of doses that would be available? Experts say no, but our Gabe Gutierrez talked to a CEO who says his company can solve a critical roadblock.

[Cuts to video]

GABE GUTIERREZ: With the global race to make a vaccine underway, scientists are sounding the alarm about how to mass-produce it.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS (NIH director): People are worried do we have enough medical glass to put all of these doses of the vaccine into vials, so that they can be administered. And that’s a serious issue to think about right now.

GUTIERREZ: Late today, the Trump administration announced a new $138 million effort, called Project Jumpstart, to dramatically increase domestic production of syringes. The departments of Defense and Health and Human Services will now partner with health start-up Apiject Systems America. The company makes plastic prefilled syringes.

JAY WALKER (CEO or Apiject): Nobody has ever used an injectable, pre-filled syringe made of plastic in the tens of millions or even in the millions, because nobody had ever figured out how to attach a needle to a plastic-filled container with a drug.

GUTIERREZ: In an exclusive interview, CEO Jay walker says the syringe will be made faster and will cost less than $1 to produce. Much cheaper than the cost of making glass vials to hold vaccines.

WALKER: Not only do they take six or more months to make, that’s if you need millions. If you need tens of millions or hundreds of millions, they could take way longer to make. So that’s a big problem.

GUTIERREZ: And those glass vials are largely manufactured overseas. There’s also the stoppers needed to close the vial. Experts warn that our reliance on an overseas supply chain is a major national security issue.

Public health experts say a COVID-19 vaccine might require two doses to ensure immunity. That would mean about 650 million doses just for the U.S. population alone.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN (FDA commissioner): We’ve been leaning in on the supply chain to ensure that when a vaccine is ready to go, we will have the necessary supplies to actually administer it.

GUTIERREZ: There’s no clear timeline for a vaccine. But experts say we must prepare for it now. Gabe Gutierrez, NBC News, New York.

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