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Amid intense concern that low-income countries lack access to Covid-19 vaccines, Moderna (MRNA) announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Africa that can produce up to 500 million doses each year for different diseases in a bid to combat the pandemic and other illnesses on a wider scale.

But the move was quickly panned by patient advocates who saw a public relations gambit for thwarting efforts to convince drug makers to share technology, which could be used by other companies to boost vaccine production for global distribution more quickly.

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