Mon. Dec 6th, 2021


Moderna says it plans to build a messenger RNA manufacturing plant in Africa to manufacture it Covid-19 vaccine and jabs other than the pharmaceutical industry fend off criticism have not done enough to immunize the developing world.

The company said it would spend up to $ 500 million to build a “modern facility” on the continent within two to four years with the goal of eventually producing 500 million doses of vaccine each year.

However, Moderna’s plans seem to have been at a relatively early stage, and it contains few other concrete details, such as a site for the factory or even the country he wants to choose.

The biotechnology group said the plant will produce its Covid-19 vaccine and possibly other experimental pieces in its portfolio that have not yet been tested in late-clinical trials.

The announcement comes as the industry’s struggle claims it has resisted efforts to expand access to territories Africa, where only 3.5 percent of the population was fully immunized by October 4, according to the World Health Organization.

Vaccine makers including Modern opposed a strong proposal against a proposal that would force them to relinquish intellectual property rights to encourage greater use of their technology, arguing that it would not result in the rapid production of more doses have not.

Moderna’s announcement comes after BioNTech, co-developer of a Covid-19 vaccine with Pfizer, said it would establish an mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa.

The German-based vaccine developer held talks with the political leaders of Senegal and Rwanda in August, aiming to have a partner in the coming year for the easiest part of the process, filling bottles.

However, Moderna is the first company to announce plans for an mRNA facility across the region that will produce the active ingredient in the vaccine.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Africa needed such a facility to ensure greater access to vaccines and to prepare the continent for future pandemics, when mRNA technology could once again play an important role.

He rejects criticism of vaccine manufacturers over delays in administering sufficient doses to the developing world through a global initiative known as Covax.

“The first proposal I made to Covax was in August 2020, but the partnership with Covax was signed in the spring of 2021 – so we lost a lot of time,” says Bancel, adding: “I do not know why.” . delay.

Health experts said that the lack of domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa exposed it during the pandemic, while rich nations swallowed the vast majority of doses.

Temporary efforts to curb the export of vaccines and ingredients across the US, Europe and India also highlight the supply crisis in medium-income and developing countries.

Klaus Meyer, professor of international affairs at the Ivey Business School in Canada at Western University, warned that there are major challenges ahead in establishing an mRNA facility in Africa.

“It is unlikely to be a quick fix to this pandemic, as it will take time to establish,” he said.

Moderna’s injection into Africa comes a day after Sweden and Denmark suspended the use of its vaccine in people under 30 and 18, respectively, due to concerns about a rare heart condition.

The countries cited a Nordic study showing a possible small increase in the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis among young people and young adults. Moderna’s shares closed up nearly 9 percent at $ 302.42 after the decision.

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