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mRNA jab maker plans to initially produce 50 million Covid vaccine doses per year
BioNTech SE—nearly two months removed from its initial announcement involving the signing of a joint communiqué—has revealed a mid-2022 timeframe to begin building an mRNA-based vaccine facility in Africa.
The decision follows a meeting between Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije, Rwanda’s minister of health, Aïssata Tall Sall, Senegal’s minister of foreign affairs, Uğur Şahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech and Sierk Poetting, BioNTech’s COO, along with Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, director-general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center and Dr. Amadou Alpha Sall, director-general of the Pasteur Institute in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting took place following an invitation from the kENUP Foundation, and occurred as a side-event of the second ministerial meeting of the African Union and the EU; the result was a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
“ … Together, we will work on developing a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa, for Africa,” says Şahin. “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.”
The parties agreed to jointly establish end-to-end manufacturing capacities for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa beginning immediately. BioNTech will use its Marburg, Germany location as a model when developing the site, and initial capacity will be 50 million Covid-19 vaccine doses per year. Volume will be increased sequentially in the future.