Between March 2020 and February 2022, vaccine-maker Emergent BioSolutions was forced to discard or destroy up to 400 million doses' worth of the key component of both Johnson & Johnson's and AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine due to quality-control issues, according to a congressional report published Tuesday -- a figure that reflects more than five times what was previously disclosed by the beleaguered firm.
Meanwhile, according to the report, Emergent lab workers intentionally sought to mislead government inspectors about issues at its Bayview, Maryland, plant, and repeatedly "rebuffed" efforts by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson to inspect their facilities.
Emergent landed a $628 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in May 2020 to help develop Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines at its Bayview facility as part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's rapid vaccine development program.
"The single contaminated batch was brought to the attention of the FDA by Johnson & Johnson and Emergent," said Hartwig, the Emergent spokesperson.
In February 2021, under pressure from manufacturers to tighten up quality controls, Emergent apparently "rebuffed multiple requests from Johnson & Johnson's quality staff to access Bayview," the committee wrote.