American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, Moderna has recently revealed plans to open a new vaccine production facility in Africa.
According to the company, its new facility would produce approximately 500 million doses of Moderna's mRNA vaccine per year, which has recently shown effectiveness of more than 90% in preventing COVID-19.
Establishment of vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa will also improve the continent's future access to vaccines.
However, Moderna did not disclose exactly when it would set up the facility and claimed it is only getting started on determining which nation would host it.
However, African politicians and campaigners have called for patent rules to be waived, allowing more drug makers access to data on how the COVID-19 vaccines are made. It also fails to address the continent's current vaccination scarcity.
In a recent news briefing, Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that it wouldn't necessarily address the problems immediately. The issues they have include fast access to vaccinations, vaccine redistribution, and ensuring that specific licenses are given to begin regional production.
The announcement of Moderna comes after biotech companies face increasing pressure for sharing the expertise and skills to manufacturers of the countries which are currently in desperate need of COVID-19 vaccines.
Moderna said it planned to invest up to $500 million in its next location, which would produce dosages with fill-and-finish capabilities and packaging capabilities.
Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel said that while the firm is currently striving to expand capacity in its present network to provide vaccinations for the continuing pandemic in 2022, they feel it is critical to invest in the future.
Modern isn’t the only pharma firm looking to boost vaccine supply to Africa. In July, pharmaceutical & biotechnological companies like Pfizer and BioNTech announced a collaboration with Biovac, a public-private partnership pharmaceutical firm based in Cape Town, South Africa.