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BioNTech to ship mobile COVID-19 vaccine labs to Africa

Agence France-Presse

February 17, 2022 | 8: 54am

MARBURG, Germany — Germany’s BioNTech, which alongside with Pfizer developed the predominant mRNA vaccine in opposition to the coronavirus, said Wednesday it plans to ship cell vaccine production fashions to Africa.

“The demand used to be, can we invent the blueprint compact ample to slot in a container,” the executive government and co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, told AFP because the company unveiled the contemporary labs, dubbed “BioNTainers”.

BioNTech said it objectives to set the “first manufacturing facility in the African Union” in “mid-2022” and expects to ship the modular production fashions to Rwanda and/or Senegal. 

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall attended the Vaccine Equity for Africa meeting at BioNTech’s mRNA production web online page online in Marburg, Germany, alongside with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“The modular draw opens up contemporary perspectives for world vaccine equity,” Kagame said. 

Tedros said that boosting local production used to be “major”, particularly as extra than 100 nations worldwide had didn’t attain the vaccination payment of 70 p.c that the WHO had been targeting for the heart of this year. 

Africa is the least-vaccinated continent in the enviornment — extra than two years after the delivery of the pandemic and extra than a year after the roll-out of the predominant coronavirus vaccines, less than 12 p.c of Africans obtain been entirely vaccinated. 

Earlier this month, South African biotech company Biologics announced it had produced the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine in step with mRNA know-how the utilize of the genetic code that one other mRNA vaccine maker, Moderna, had made publicly on hand. 

Sahin said BioNTech, which developed its vaccine with US pharma wide Pfizer, has offered tens of hundreds of hundreds of the shot and used to be aiming to “instal production sites for our mRNA know-how on every continent”.

Meticulous production course of

South Africa could well “doubtlessly” be a part of the list of recipients of the cell labs, BioNTech said.

The 12 fashions in entire every comprise two modules — one for the production of mRNA and the numerous for the vaccine serum — and local companions then select over the filling of the vials.

The manufacturing course of is made up of some 50,000 steps, every of which wanted to be followed meticulously.

However the containers overcome this relate by having “the blueprint pre-validated” forward of they are assign in, Sahin defined.

In overall, it takes round three years to operate a recent manufacturing unit. However the utilize of the cell fashions, the predominant doses could be ready after 12 months, Sahin said.

The containers could well additionally be frail to do vaccines in opposition to malaria in step with mRNA know-how, were it to be well-liked after clinical trials planned to delivery up this year.

BioNTech workers will operate the containers to delivery up with, while practicing local workers “to quit the positioning in the mid- or lengthy-term”, in accordance with the assertion.  

The vaccine know-how could be shared with out the patents in the help of it being waived, as requested by a series of nations and NGOs. 

“Patents aren’t the predominant. As soon as we instal the know-how and hand it over to a companion, they’ll additionally find the licence to feature it,” Sahin said, alongside with that BioNTech would guarantee the “accountable utilize”. 

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