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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

BioNTech plans to build three vaccine factories in Africa

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Only 4.5 percent of people in Africa have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vaccines are lacking, not only against COVID-19. The German company BioNTech plans to change this with its groundbreaking project and build three factories on the African continent, reports “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”.

Coronavirus in Africa

“Europe and the United States have produced billions of doses of vaccines and committed themselves to solidarity with the poorer parts of the world, but this promise has not yet been kept,” stresses “SZ”. During the June G7 summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized that vaccine production should take place not only in Europe or Asia, but also in Africa, as it has been so far.


“The current situation (in Africa) is highly unsatisfactory,” said Amadou Alpha Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar. “For decades, the Institute has been the only vaccine producer on the continent to be certified by the World Health Organization (WHO), which makes it an interesting partner for cooperation” – noted “SZ”.

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BioNTech plans to build three vaccine factories in Africa

The German pharmaceutical company BioNTech now wants to build a complete vaccine plant in Dakar as well as in Rwanda and South Africa. “The systems will come from Germany, and the Pasteur Institute would have to provide a production hall. After two or three years the factory is to become local property. It would be a breakthrough project” – emphasizes “SZ”.

Richer countries took the COVAX initiative to facilitate access to vaccines for poor countries, the goal was to distribute 2 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021. “This goal will not be achieved. This is due to the fact that the vaccine was to be produced mainly in India, which introduced a ban on exports in order to satisfy their own population “- reminds” SZ “.

Vaccine against malaria

BioNTech has managed to “develop a very successful vaccine against COVID-19. (…) And now it would like to use its mRNA technology to develop a vaccine against malaria. It is a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, especially in Africa. Until now, the vaccine is against malaria. malaria was not a very attractive project for large pharmaceutical companies, “writes SZ.

“The average cost of developing a new vaccine is well over a billion euros. BioNTech has now announced that it will develop a vaccine against malaria at its own risk,” the SZ reads. However, this would not be the first malaria vaccine. The Mosquirix product, developed by Glaxo Smith Kline and several international organizations, received an official WHO recommendation in early October.

BioNTech’s malaria vaccine production could begin in Africa in about three years or even a little earlier. The arrangements are expected to be announced on Tuesday at the Africa-EU ministerial meeting in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.

Production of the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa

Until the factories can start producing the malaria vaccine, they will be used to produce vaccines against COVID-19. “To this end, BioNTech is currently building a” compact “version of its production line in Germany, which will be shipped after approval, explains Keller. This is expected to speed up the process of obtaining the necessary certificates from European regulators and the WHO.

Production is to be launched in Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa. Local partners will contribute in the form of a hall in which “the factory will be unpacked and set up”. The works will start in the spring of 2022. “Thanks to three new factories, the vaccine shortage in Africa may soon be solved” – summed up “SZ”.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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