BioNTech announced Tuesday plans to initiate the construction of the first state-of-the-art manufacturing site for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa in mid-2022.
The announcement by a leading biotechnology company that produced one of the coronavirus vaccines followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Rwanda and the Senegalese Institut Pasteur de Dakar in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on the sidelines of the second ministerial meeting of the African Union and the European Union.
BioNTech said it finalized construction plans and ordered the delivery of assets.
It will initially staff, own and operate the facility to support the safe and rapid initiation of the production of mRNA-based vaccine doses but plans to transfer manufacturing capacities and the know-how to local partners.
The parties agreed to jointly immediately establish end-to-end manufacturing capacities for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa.
“I trust to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility within the African Union. Together, we will work on developing a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa, for Africa,” said Ugur Sahin, chief executive and co-founder of BioNTech. “Our goal is to develop vaccines in the African Union and to establish sustainable vaccine production capabilities to jointly improve medical care in Africa. We have made great progress in the past few weeks, which will help us on our way to turn these plans into reality.”
Rwanda’s Health Minister Daniel Ngamije said bringing end-to-end vaccine manufacturing of biologicals to Africa is essential for the continent’s health security and prosperity.
“Rwanda is committed to working with the African Union, the European Union, BioNTech, and other technology partners to make this a reality as quickly as possible,” he said.
In Rwanda, the BioNTech plant will be located in Kigali's Special Economic Zone.
Senegalese Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall said the BioNTech partnership will not only build physical infrastructure but also strengthen human capacity in Africa to develop the most advanced vaccine technologies.
“With decades of experience manufacturing yellow fever vaccines, the Institut Pasteur de Dakar is ready to partner with BioNTech to rise to the challenge of developing mRNA vaccines for Africa,” said Aissata.
Holm Keller, executive chairman of kENUP Foundation – a global partnership in innovation and promoting research-based innovation for Europe -- said “Global vaccine equity is key to accelerating the end of the pandemic."
The initiative is aligned with the “Team Europe Initiative” on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and medical technologies led by the European Commission in collaboration with EU member states and the European Investment Bank.
The African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aiming to have about 60% of Africa's routine vaccines produced locally by 2040.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.