BREAKING NEWS

BioNTech to ship mRNA vaccine factory kits to Africa

Germany's BioNTech has developed a vaccine factory made from shipping containers that it plans to ship to Africa as assembly kits to ease what the World Health Organization has described as huge disparities in global COVID-19 vaccine access.

The factory prototype will be instrumental in helping the biotech firm deliver on a pledge made last year to Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal and the African Union to secure mRNA vaccine production on the continent, where inoculation rates have fallen far behind other parts of the world.

 World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Belgium's Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir visit a WHO-backed mRNA vaccine hub, in Cape Town, South Africa, February 11, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/Shelley Christians) World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Belgium's Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir visit a WHO-backed mRNA vaccine hub, in Cape Town, South Africa, February 11, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Shelley Christians)

Work on the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the African Union is due to begin in mid-2022 and the first container module is expected to arrive on the continent in the second half of the year, BioNTech said in a statement.

The factory, housed in two groups of six 40-foot-containers, should kick off vaccine production about 12 months after the delivery of the assembly kit.

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