Kigali, Jun 23 (Xinhua) BioNtech, a leading biotechnology company, on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first manufacturing site for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa, which is expected to address the issue of vaccine equity.
According to Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer and co-founder of BioNTech, the facility in Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali will be based on the BioEntainer concept – an exact replica of the BioNTech factory in Marburg, Germany.
At an event in Rwanda’s Special Economic Zone in Kigali, Sahin described the groundbreaking ceremony as a milestone in the establishment of scalable mRNA vaccine production in Africa.
The company expects to set up additional factories in Senegal and South Africa in close coordination with its partners in the respective countries.
“We have reached the next milestone with the start of construction of the first African mRNA manufacturing facility based on our BioEntainers – just four months after the BioEntainer concept was introduced in February,” he said.
“This factory will be the first in the African network to provide sustainable production capacity for mRNA Pharmaceuticals. Further manufacturing facilities in Africa and other continents are planned to follow. The goal we pursue in collaboration with governments and regulatory authorities That is to produce vaccines for Africa. Here with highly skilled professionals from Africa,” he said.
According to Sahin, the company’s program aims to develop a highly effective malaria vaccine based on BioNTech’s mRNA platform, with vaccine candidates expected to enter the first human trials in 2022.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for greater local production of vaccines and other essential products in all regions of the world, particularly in Africa which relies heavily on imported products and the global market for COVID-19 vaccines. The crowd was left behind,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I welcome BioNTech’s efforts to establish manufacturing sites in Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, as well as plans to begin clinical trials of its malaria vaccine candidates later this year,” he added. Am.”
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said, by working with other partners, Rwanda will build on investments to attract a vibrant biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing sector.
“We are delighted to have BioNTech as a partner, and I appreciate the company’s commitment to working with Africa on a continental basis to help secure our vaccine resilience for the future and prevent our people from unequaled.” I invest in new research to address endemic diseases that affect humans.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message that the ‘Vaccine Equity for Africa’ project represents immense potential for African and European cooperation.
“Our partnership will take vaccine manufacturing in Africa to the next level,” she said.
In a statement, BioNTech indicated that it will work with staff at its sites in Germany to accelerate the training of the approximately 100 associates who will run production and all associated laboratory and quality assurance functions at the Africa site.
BioNTainers will be equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines targeted to the needs of African Union member states, which could include the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine and BioNTac’s investigational malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, when they are successfully get developed. According to the statement, approved or authorized by regulatory authorities.
“The estimated initial annual capacity for the Pfizer-BioEntech COVID-19 Vaccine will be approximately 50 million doses. Manufacturing at BioEntainers in Rwanda is expected to begin approximately 12 to 18 months after their installation,” it said. I