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BioNTech and Pfizer today announced an agreement with South African biopharmaceutical company Biovac to complete the final stage of the production process for their coronavirus vaccine and distribute them on the vaccine-poor continent.
The companies have signed a letter of intent stating that Biovac will begin filling and finishing the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine in 2022 and that their facility will be integrated into the BioNTech / Pfizer supply chain by the end of this year. The active ingredient is said to come from European institutions. Ultimately, the partners hope that Biovac will be able to fill and refine over 100 million cans, which will be distributed exclusively within the African Union.
It is a significant step in the manufacture of vaccines in the African continent, which relies on vaccines made elsewhere. However, today’s agreement is still limited, as Biovac can only participate in the final phase of vaccine production, which is controversial for many critics.
“Our goal is to enable people on every continent to manufacture and distribute our vaccine while ensuring the quality of the manufacturing process and dosages,” said Uğur Şahin, CEO of BioNTech. “Our mRNA technology can be used to develop vaccine candidates against other diseases. We will therefore continue to evaluate sustainable approaches that support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent. “
A separate technology transfer hub for mRNA coronavirus vaccines has been set up by the World Health Organization, with which Biovac is a partner. The hub should also support the production of the active ingredient, which is a much more complex process.
So far, neither BioNTech / Pfizer nor Moderna have indicated that they want to work with the hub.