The circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic caught the world by surprise in a lot of ways. This led to supply shortages for essential items such as personal protective equipment, surgical masks, medication, and even manpower. Overall healthcare systems were unprepared for an outbreak of this magnitude. This prompted non-medical companies to make some changes to meet the new demand. Meanwhile, Pfizer is reportedly planning to outsource the production of its drugs, as it will be purportedly focusing on COVID-19 vaccine development.

In an interview, the U.S. drugmaker's president of global supply named third-party contractors such as Thermo Fisher Scientific Incorporated, Catalent Incorporated, and Lonza Group AG, among others, in fact, there is an estimated total of close to 200 qualified groups with resources adequate enough to meet its requirements. However, it is yet to name which of these will be awarded the contract.

This move is expected to allow Pfizer to dedicate at least four of its facilities to the development of a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Once the deal has been inked with several of its partners, it can properly allocate manpower to address the existing health crisis without significant disruption to the global distribution of its products, according to Medical Dialogues.

Similar to what other pharmaceutical groups have currently in motion, Pfizer is likewise conducting clinical trials with the help of BioNTech SE – its German partner. While testing is already underway in Germany, it is yet to begin human trials in the United States. If the vaccine is proven to be effective, the next step is to request an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rough estimates peg a target date of around October 2020. In this scenario, the manufacturer can supposedly deliver close to 20 million units before the year ends. In 2021, it hopes to distribute even more globally.

NYU drug test
An unnamed drug made by Pfizer Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Pfizer plans to beef up its workforce to ensure that its establishments are fully staffed in preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine development operations. Multiple reports over the past few weeks have been sharing positive results from preliminary studies. Moreover, many are now awaiting approval to move on to the next phase of human trials.