Merck KGaA’s MilliporeSigma subsidiary will help Saudi Arabia-based SaudiVax design and launch a new biologics and vaccine manufacturing facility serving the Middle East and North Africa, MilliporeSigma announced Wednesday.

The collaboration aims to “localize” the production of “high-quality, Halal, and affordable vaccines and biotherapeutics” in Saudi Arabia, according to MilliporeSigma’s press release.

The state of the hunt:

India inked vaccine supply deals with Bharat Biotech and SII.
  BioNTech upped its 2021 production target for Comirnaty to 2 billion doses—but the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine faced near-term production slowdowns and delivery lags.
  An African Union-backed supply initiative locked up 270 million vaccine doses for the continent.



Approved or authorized vaccines

Sinovac’s inactivated jab notched its…

The state of the hunt:

WHO issued its first EUL for a Covid-19 vaccine in recent days while Britain and the EMA authorized an additional jab and China and India cleared their first shots.
  Both Bharat Biotech and Pfizer claimed their respective vaccines are effective against newly identified SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  SII pledged to sell an initial 100 million doses to India at a “special price” of $2.74 each.



Approved or authorized…

The state of the hunt:

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received several new authorizations, including from the European Union.
  Canada joined the U.S. in authorizing Moderna’s jab. .
  Argentina and Belarus became the first countries outside Russia to OK Sputnik V.



Approved or authorized vaccines
Pfizer and BioNTech will market their BNT162b2 vaccine in the European Union under the brand name Comirnaty after receiving…

Reuters reported last week that Indonesia will postpone its October deadline for halal compliance for food, drugs and cosmetics amid concerns that industry will not be able to meet the target date, which could lead to a ban on many life-saving vaccines.

According to the article, the head of Indonesia’s International Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group said that drug and vaccine manufacturers might have until 2026 to comply, however, even that might “not be enough.”

Since 2017,…

Local media reported this week that Indonesia’s top national Muslim clerical body has issued a fatwa allowing measles-rubella (MR) immunization despite traces of pig DNA that it found in the vaccine.

“The use of the MR vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, for the time being, is permissible,” the head of Majelis Ulama Indonesia was quoted as saying; the vaccine is allowable because of lack of a halal alternative and the dangers to children of missing immunization.


Local media reported last week that Indonesia’s state-owned vaccine manufacturer BioFarma has started applying for halal certifications for its products.

Meanwhile, Aceh’s acting governor has stopped measles rubella immunization in the province until the top national Muslim clerical body, Majelis Ulama Indonesia, certifies the vaccine as halal, local media also said this week.


Local media reported this week that state-backed Pharmaniaga has picked Malaysia’s northern peninsula to build the country’s first halal vaccine plant.

Managing Director Datuk Farshila Emran was quoted as saying the new plant is expected to be completed between 2020 and 2022, with the first commercial vaccine batches set to be introduced two years later.

Media reported last year that Pharmaniaga will start by producing halal versions of meningococcal vaccine and diphtheria,…