Emerson Technologies Supporting Fast COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Rollout

by , | May 1, 2021 | Life Sciences & Medical, Measurement Instrumentation

Benjamin Arriola

Global Business Development Leader - Life Sciences

In a Pharmaceutical Processing World article, Emerson’s Ben Arriola and Zach Blum discuss technologies advancing vaccine development.

It’s safe to say that there has never been a pharmaceutical effort so huge, fast, and successful as developing multiple vaccines for COVID-19. It is truly global in that countries all over the world are developing their own formulations. Making this possible and practical has depended on technologies offered by Emerson: digitalization and single-use production technologies.

How these fit in to vaccine development is the topic of our article in Pharmaceutical Processing World’s  April issue. There have been bumps in the road, but the successes overall have been truly mind-boggling.

China’s CoronaVac from Sinovac and Russia’s Gamaleya Sputnik V were first to receive widespread distribution. There are now four options between the U.S. and western Europe: Oxford University-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson. All told, there are more than 70 vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, and nearly one-third of those have reached final stages, according to the New York Times’s coronavirus vaccine tracker.

Digitalization has played a huge role, given the amounts of data generated by formula development, clinical trials, and manufacturing.

Accelerating vaccine development requires unprecedented flexibility in managing data. With increasing integration between product lifecycle management systems and software—like Emerson’s DeltaV Distributed Control System (DCS) and Syncade Manufacturing Execution System (MES)—data, recipes, and processes can be digitally altered, shared, and used to scale across the lifecycle.

Data management has to work hand-in-hand with manufacturing, and that’s where actual equipment and instrumentation comes into the picture. Single-use technologies simplify processes and make production batches easier to execute quickly.

Old fixed-in-place production units cannot deliver the kind of process flexibility required during these developments due to cumbersome configurations requiring time-consuming reconfiguration for experimental batches. Moreover, operating costs are high due to cleaning cycles using energy-intensive clean-in-place (CIP) and sterilize-in-place (SIP) systems. While this type of equipment is appropriate for the routine running of mature product campaigns, it represents a significant drag on development when time is of the essence.

Single-use technologies are only practical when combined with the right kinds of instrumentation designed specifically for this application, such as Emerson’s Rosemount 550pH Single-Use Sensor, along with other products in the single-use sensor catalog. These are often paired with the Rosemount 1056 Intelligent Four-Wire Transmitter, providing single or dual sensor input. This multi-parameter instrument offers a wide range of measurement choices, including differential conductivity, dual oxygen, and many other combinations to support most pharmaceutical applications.

The advances realized as part of the vaccine development projects are available for all types of pharmaceutical and life sciences. Are you taking advantage of these developments, or still dragging along with manual batch records and old-fashioned equipment? Visit the Life Sciences pages at Emerson.com. You can also connect and interact with other engineers in the Life Sciences Group at the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.