"We got creative — we couldn’t wait for data, we had to do so much ‘at risk’. We flew the aeroplane while we were still building it."
Pfizer’s former head of vaccine R&D, Kathrin Jansen crows about her Warp Speed Herd Culling Drugs. We live in parallel realities.
Promo code: Coastbound
Paging former Pharm Industry veterans.
Come in, Yeadon.
Come in, Sasha.
Paging Karen Kingston.
Come in, Karen.
Vaccines have not provided quite such a simple solution for COVID, but the ultra-rapid development of these products has been a game-changing lifeline for a world in the throes of a viral pandemic. Jansen, who has now stepped down as Pfizer’s head of vaccine R&D, leaves the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine Comirnaty as an impressive capstone to a massive career showcasing the public health possibilities of vaccination.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, Pfizer was already collaborating with BioNTech on mRNA vaccines for influenza. The partners ran with this experimental platform — and compressed vaccine development timelines from ten years to just nine months. In December 2020, Comirnaty became the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to secure authorization in the UK, the USA and other countries.
Over 1 billion doses of the vaccine have now been administered in the USA and Europe. Total sales for this record-breaking vaccine are forecast to exceed US$70 billion by the end of 2022.
But this success has brought the issue of vaccine pushback into sharp focus. “I find it astounding, after all that humankind went through, how many people still do not see the value of vaccines and don’t get immunized,” says Jansen. “Society now just accepts 400 COVID deaths every day in the USA, for example. This is just mind-boggling.”
How did you develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 so quickly?
Over the years we had built a strong infrastructure, particularly through the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine programmes. But COVID changed everything in terms of how to approach the end-to-end vaccine R&D concept, driven by the enormous urgency.
[In March 2020] when our CEO said, “Get it done before the end of the year,” I said, “This is crazy!” But money was not an issue — and, then, you can do amazing things in an amazing amount of time.
We got creative — we couldn’t wait for data, we had to do so much ‘at risk’. We flew the aeroplane while we were still building it.
All the bureaucracy fell away. We were doing things in parallel, looking at data and doing the manufacturing. Usually, manufacturing doesn’t get involved until years into a programme. I remember those calls with my manufacturing colleagues; I said, “We have four different constructs, get all four ready.” Then later we narrowed it down. We threw a lot away that wasn’t working, but we always had other things already at scale to take forward.
Remember when I ran the clips of Dr. Mike Yeadon and Brave Michelle and said “this is what it looks like”? The real shit?
Ms. Jansen reveals the flip side of that coin.
This is also what the Black Mirror real shit looks like.
They. Just. Keep. Going.
They will just keep going, no matter how bad the experimental injection carnage gets.
It’s their story and they are sticking to it.
No matter how bad it gets.
And Nature.com will be right there and the media will be right there gaslighting children heart attacks as caused by video games and we’ll normalize myocarditis and SADS and died suddenly and miscarriages and fetal events and Turbo Cancer.
Watch this two minute video of MCM.
What a timeline.