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Germany Trains Specialists For Vaccine Plant In Rwanda

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Ahead of the plan to set up vaccine manufacturing plant in Rwanda, the German Government is currently training of specialists for the take- off of the project aimed at using BioTech’s messenger RNA technology.

Currently, only 1 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Africa are produced in the continent but the African Union (AU) has ambitious targets in the area, as it hopes to increase this to 60 percent by 2040.

On 26 October, an agreement was signed between the Rwandan Government and the management of the German-based biotech start-up, which became world-famous for producing alongside the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the most effective Covid-19 vaccine.

According to the signatories, the Rwandan site will be home to Africa’s first “robust and decentralised production network, offering a production capacity of several hundred million doses of mRNA vaccine.” The idea is not just to produce anti-Covid serum, but also to later manufacture malaria and tuberculosis vaccines using the same technology.

Construction of the production site is due to begin in mid-2022 and, to enable vaccine production to begin as quickly as possible, the plan is to first assemble a complete first production line with a capacity of 50 million doses per year. The aim is to then add more lines to gradually increase production capacity.

In the interests of speed, BioNTech will initially manage the industrial site and send its own staff so that production can start as soon as the infrastructure has been completed. However, the agreement signed between the company, the Rwanda Development Board and Dakar’s Pasteur Institute provides for the rapid training of local personnel, as well as the transfer of know-how and ownership of the site to “local partners”.

German Development Minister, Svenja Schulze disclosed this in a chat with the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland news service.

The minster, however rejected long-standing calls for the lifting of patent protection for vaccine manufacturers, noting that what is needed, is worldwide production in cooperation with manufacturers

“I would be open to it if it would help us now. But the production process of modern vaccines is so technically demanding and complex that the suspension would not help at all”, she said.

Schulze also disclosed that the new German government has announced its plans to donate at least 75 million vaccine doses to poorer countries in 2022.

She noted that the target of 100 million donated doses for 2021 had now been reached. “But we must not stop there. For the coming year, we plan to donate at least another 75 million doses”, she added.

The minister said she agreed with Health Minister Karl Lauterbach that this should not be at the expense of vaccinating citizens in Germany alone.

“We will manage both: Providing for our own population and for poorer countries. The effects of the pandemic in these countries were really brutal. Violence against women is increasing; there are more human rights violations. It’s dramatic what we’re seeing right now”, she stressed.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=72351

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