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WuXi campus deemed essential construction

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Construction work can continue at the WuXi plant, including the Vaccine facility

Construction work can continue at the WuXi plant, including the Vaccine facility

Construction work can continue at the WuXi plant, including the Vaccine facility

argus

The WuXi Construction Campus in Dundalk will remain open during the current lockdown after it was deemed an 'essential' site, the Argus has learned.

A spokesman explained that the Mullagharlin site 'meets the essential construction criteria and is continuing construction activity of contract manufacturing bio-pharma facilities in compliance with Government guidelines.'

The company have also confirmed that it is a construction site 'with regard to a health-related project with relevance to Covid-19.'

Modular labs currently under construction will, when completed, be engaged in Covid-19 testing for one of the main manufacturers.

The WuXi Biologics facility, which is set to become the largest contract manufacturing biologics facility in the world using single-use production technology, is about 85% completed. Site utilities have been handed over and are operational and the completed facility is scheduled to be handed over by Q3 2021 to prepare for trial production.

'The vaccines facility, although not directly associated with Covid-19, will be providing much needed additional capacity for global biologics medicines manufacturing and will thereby free up space for Covid-19 vaccine production in other locations,' said the spokesman,

'The health and safety of everyone working onsite is a top priority for the construction campus. The site management team follows the specific advice of the Irish Government/NPHET, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) and the Construction Industry Federation of Ireland (CIF) in relation to Covid-19 and a strict Covid-19 avoidance regime applies in all areas of the construction site.'

He explained that although Covid-19 created new complexities for the construction project during 2020, 'A Covid mitigation plan was carefully implemented across the site to reduce the risk of infection. Hygiene and social distance protocols and vigilant marshalling were applied across all areas with regular intensive cleaning and sanitation programmes undertaken in order to minimise Covid risk.'

The company introduced 'Covid-19 Champions' on the site to ensure that all guidelines were followed and that all movements on site are tracked.

'Temperature checks were introduced while the wearing of masks became mandatory at all times when working. All these measures remain in place in line with government guidelines, and further measures have now been introduced, with immediate effect, e.g, mask wearing at all times before entry to the construction site even if visors are worn.'

'While a relatively small number of Covid-positive cases have been experienced among the site workforce and managed appropriately since summer 2020 in terms of procedures, including quarantining, there was no occurrence of Covid infection occurring from contact within the site itself. Cases identified to-date were contacted off-site within external community settings.'

The two projects currently under construction will, when operational, employ 600 people.

The WuXi Biologics project is due to begin commercial operation in 2022 (400-Jobs) and the WuXi Vaccines project is due to become operational in 2024 (200-Jobs).

The spokesman added: 'Both projects are an integral part of the global biologics and vaccines supply chain and will directly or indirectly provide additional capacity to medicines production supply chains that are under enormous strain dealing with the current challenges being provided by the global pandemic.'


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