Moderna will invest $500M to build factory in Africa

Moderna vai investir 500M de dólares para construir fábrica em África

Moderna today announced an investment of about $500 million to build a state-of-the-art messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing plant on the African continent. With this, the goal is to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines annually, including covid-19 and other injections.

Moderna's CEO said that the covid-19 vaccine and additional products within the "mRNA vaccine portfolio are expected to be manufactured at this facility."

In an interview, Stephane Bancel, said that the goal was to build a factory comparable to the company's main U.S. production facility in Norwood, Massachusetts. It will be owned and operated by Moderna, but its staff will consist mainly of local workers, and there will be no transfer of intellectual property, he assured.

A statement from the company says that the process of choosing the country and area where the center will be located will begin soon. However, it highlights political stability, infrastructure, and an adequate educated work force as key factors.

Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, announced an agreement in July to begin producing vaccines - about 100 million doses annually - at a facility in Cape Town, South Africa

The other main mRNA vaccine manufacturers for Covid-19, Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, announced an agreement in July to begin producing vaccines - about 100 million doses annually - at a facility in Cape Town, South Africa.

The United States said it would support Moderna. But the idea has faced opposition from pharmaceutical companies arguing that they need to oversee any technology transfer due to the complexity of the manufacturing process. In addition, Moderna intends to hire local labor.

The World Health Organization is trying to persuade Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech to join forces with its plan for an African technology transfer center. But Moderna does not seem to be very open to this.

On Wednesday, Sweden and Denmark suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine for younger age groups. This was due to reports of possible rare cardiovascular side effects and citations of data from an unpublished Nordic study.

Unlike Moderna, which will produce mRNA active ingredients for vaccines, Biovac will be focused on the final step of the process, the filling and packaging.

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