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NH workers help in production of COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 7:31 AM EST
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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (WCAX) - A manufacturing facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is playing a big role in producing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine is different than most vaccines. Instead of providing a non-active strain of the virus like a flu shot, the head of Lonza’s Engineering says the vaccine focuses on a person’s DNA. We’re told it goes in and reprograms the DNA to produce an antivirus response to the virus itself.

The other vaccine close to a release is Pfizer. But unlike Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine does not need deep cold storage to survive.

“It can even be stored in a regular refrigerator for a number of days as well, and still have shelf stability and not degrade or deteriorate," said Dr. Nirav Shah, the Maine CDC director.

Shah says this means it can be delivered to more rural areas.

“Certainly makes the supply chain for this vaccine very easy compared to other vaccines that require that deep cold storage requirement," said Mark Caswell, the head of Lonza’s engineering facilities.

Moderna says early results from clinical trials show its vaccine is almost 95% effective.

Both Pfizer and Moderna plan to apply for emergency use authorization.

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