China can break the bottleneck of vaccine bottles, says industry insiders

By Li Lei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/23 22:13:41

Photo: VCG

With the COVID-19 vaccine entering the clinical trial phase, some Western media hyped that glass vials will be a bottleneck in the large-scale application of COVID-19 vaccines. The largest provider of glass medicine containers in China confirmed to the Global Times on Tuesday that the company is confident to meet the needs of glass containers for COVID-19 vaccines.

China has some 60 glass medicine container providers. Shandong Pharmaceutical Glass Co and Chongqing Zhengchuan Pharmaceutical Packaging Co are both the top two leading glass medicine package manufacturers in China, according to a report by published in May.

An official with the production department of Shandong Pharmaceutical Glass Co told the Global Times that the company is able to ensure the supply of glass vials for COVID-19 vaccines in terms of raw material and labor force.

The China Association for Vaccines claimed on its website that with an annual production of more than 8 billion vaccine vials, China is able to satisfy the production needs for COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine bottle companies have worked in contact with COVID-19 vaccine research and development companies to understand specifications for vaccine packages, and are preparing materials to guarantee production of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the China Association for Vaccines.

Shandong Pharmaceutical Glass Co is one of the two Chinese companies with a certificate to produce molded glass vials made of neutral borosilicate glass, a general material for vaccine injection vials.

The company can produce some 200 million molded serum vials and 687 million tube-type bottles made of neutral borosilicate glass per year, according to the report.

The official with Shandong Pharmaceutical Glass Co told the Global Times the company currently has five production lines for neutral borosilicate glass that produce bottles with volumes ranging from 5 to 500 milliliters. Other production lines in the company can be adapted to produce neutral borosilicate glass bottles if needed, the official added.

With high viscosity, liquid neutral borosilicate glass is more difficult to produce compared with other glass types, and the price of neutral borosilicate glass bottles is three to five times higher than the price of low borosilicate glass and sodium silicate glass.

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