Skip to main content


You are here

Washington Post: Maryland plays an outsized role in worldwide hunt for a coronavirus vaccine

Monday, May 4, 2020

As the world anxiously awaits a coronavirus vaccine, a Maryland biotechnology company already has signed deals to do initial production of three candidates. If one of them works, the firm has a factory in place to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses a year.

Emergent BioSolutions of Gaithersburg has long been preparing for a global disease outbreak. The firm got started making a vaccine against anthrax, and since then has produced candidates for the Ebola and Zika viruses.

“The covid pandemic is shining a spotlight on a capability we’ve had for years,” Executive Vice President Sean Kirk said. “We have infrastructure here in Maryland that basically supports the entire [vaccine] product development continuum.”

Emergent’s readiness illustrates the outsize role that Maryland is playing in the battle against the novel coronavirus. In Montgomery County’s biotech corridor along Interstate 270, multiple companies have pivoted to work on possible vaccines and cures, and to expand testing. At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, 260 scientists are working on 25 projects for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The nation’s best-known expert on the disease, Anthony S. Fauci, works at the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health.

Read the full story from the Washington Post.