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BioNTech collaborates with Senegal and Rwanda to produce mRNA vaccine, Health News, ET Health World

Dakar: Senegal and Rwanda sign contract with German company BioNTech For the construction of a factory from the beginning to the end to make a messenger RNA Vaccine Africa..

BioNTech, which manufactures the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, said on Tuesday that construction would begin in mid-2022. According to a statement, it is working with the Pasteur Institute and the Rwandan government in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

“Such state-of-the-art facilities will save lives and change games in Africa, and African Africans could create millions of state-of-the-art vaccines for Africans.” , Says Machidiso Moetti of the World Health Organization. Africa Regional Director of the organization. “This is also important for transferring knowledge and know-how, bringing in new jobs and skills, and ultimately enhancing the health and security of Africa.”

BioNTech co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin said the goal is to “develop vaccines in the African Union and establish sustainable vaccine production capacity to jointly improve health care in Africa.” I did.

BioNTech had already agreed in August to work with Rwanda and Senegal to establish a facility in Africa that could produce mRNA-based vaccines end-to-end under license.

The new mRNA process uses the genetic code of the coronavirus peplomer and is thought to elicit a better immune response than traditional vaccines. Scientists hope that this technology, which is easier to scale up than traditional vaccine methods, will eventually be used to produce vaccines for other diseases, including malaria.

According to BioNTech, the African facility will eventually be able to produce about 50 million vaccines a year and increase capacity.

BioNTech also said it is in discussions to expand its partnership with Cape Town-based South African vaccine maker Biovac.

BioNTech’s announcement was criticized by Rohit Malpani, an independent public health consultant in Paris who previously worked for Doctors Without Borders.

“This is too late,” Malpani said. “When we were building factories in the United States and Germany a year ago, BioNTech shouldn’t have stopped this. They sat in their hands and propagated this vaccine apartheid, causing millions of people. The fact that we left without the vaccine shows that we can’t trust these companies. “

Malpani pointed out that the agreement is to manufacture vaccines under a BioNTech license.

“This may increase production, but vaccine management is still ultimately in the hands of BioNTech,” he said. “By the time these vaccines arrive, it will be too late for millions of people. This does not guarantee that countries will have access to the vaccines or better respond to future pandemics.”

In contrast, Cape Town’s African Biologics and Vaccines used publicly available information to set up a lab to produce a replica of the Moderna vaccine, the mRNA vaccine, and brought together scientists. With the support of WHO, Afrigen plans to develop and manufacture the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine independently of Moderna and other major pharmaceutical companies.

Senegal announced in July that the Pasteur Institute will manage a new manufacturing hub for the production of vaccines containing COVID-19. The cost of the hub is estimated at $ 200 million, partly funded by Western governments and institutions.

According to WHO, the African Continent currently relies on imports for about 99% of its vaccine demand, so these vaccine manufacturing hubs in Africa will help reduce reliance on imports. According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Africa and its 1.3 billion people are the least vaccinated areas of the world for COVID-19, with just over 5% fully vaccinated.

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Contributed by Maria Cheng, an AP journalist in London.

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