Amid escalating concern over global access to Covid-19 vaccines, BioNTech (BNTX) disclosed details about its plans to boost production in Africa. But the effort was met with a mixed reaction because the approach snubs a parallel effort by the World Health Organization.
The plan calls for shipping versions of a vaccine factory in sea containers from Europe to be established in Rwanda, Senegal, and potentially, South Africa. These modules will be equipped to manufacture vaccines based on mRNA technology, including shots to protect against Covid-19, tuberculosis, and malaria, which BioNTech is in the process of developing.
Initially, BioNTech will staff and operate the facilities, but eventually transfer know-how to local partners so production can be handled independently. Moreover, the company maintained that vaccines manufactured in these modules are expected to be dedicated for domestic consumption and available for export to other members of the African Union at a not-for-profit price.
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