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Lonza gets Swiss OK to start Moderna vaccine production - paper

FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York, U.S., December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss regulators have allowed contract manufacturer Lonza Group to start producing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at a plant in Switzerland, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.

“Important preparatory work is under way at the moment with the view to ramp up the production lines,” it quoted a spokesman for Lonza’s plant in Visp as saying.

Large-scale output could begin within days so that vaccine deliveries could start as soon as it wins approval in Europe, the newspaper added.

Drugs regulator Swissmedic, which has already approved a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and partner BioNTech, is expected to approve the Moderna version soon, officials have said.

The United States authorised Moderna’s vaccine on Dec. 19, Canada did so on Dec. 23 and the EU’s watchdog is expected to approve it this week.

Lonza, which in May announced a deal to make vaccine doses for Moderna, is already manufacturing it at a U.S. plant. Moderna has its own production capacity as well.

The Swiss plant has the capacity to produce 800,000 doses a day, the newspaper said, which will then be sent to a company in Spain that readies individual doses for delivery.

Lonza did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely