BioNTech to soon start construction on mRNA vaccine factory in Rwanda

By Reuters

A photo taken in March 2021 shows the logo on the facade of the manufacturing site of German company BioNTech in Marburg, central Germany. /AFP

COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech said construction of an mRNA vaccine factory to enable African nations to jump-start their own manufacturing network would start on June 23 in Rwanda.

The German company’s modular factory elements, to be assembled in Africa to so-called BioNTainers, would be delivered to the Kigali construction site by the end of 2022.

The company, which developed the western world’s most widely used COVID-19 shot with U.S. partner Pfizer earlier this year mapped out a plan to enable African countries to produce its Comirnaty-branded shot under BioNTech’s supervision.

The company has said that the initial vaccine factory, made from an assembly kit and housed in shipping containers, would over the next few years become part of a wider supply network spanning several African nations including Senegal and South Africa.

The project push comes as Western-made coronavirus vaccine doses finally arrive in force on the continent, after a much criticised delay.

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