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ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis is scaling up facilities to make COVID-19 vaccine doses for German drugmaker CureVac and could boost production beyond levels agreed so far, Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said on a conference call on Tuesday.

Novartis aims to produce up to 50 million doses in 2021 and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022 for CureVac at its facilities in Austria’s Tyrol region near Innsbruck. CureVac is still seeking approval for its mRNA vaccine, with hopes of the shot being ready in Europe by next month. It is already under rolling review in Switzerland.

“The quantities quoted are those that are currently agreed upon. But I would note, as we continue to get better and better at running this process, we…are able to handle very large scales in those facilities,” Narasimhan said. “If it were required, I think we feel confident we could supply additional vaccine doses from our Austrian Kundl facility.”

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