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To Boost Vaccine Production in Africa

BioNTech plans to set up mRNA vaccine production facilities in Africa, according to the Financial Times. It adds that the move aims to tackle diseases beyond COVID-19.

According to FT, the European Union plans to increase vaccine manufacturing in Africa, which currently must import most vaccines it needs, and BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin described his idea to build production facilities there in a video call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of the upcoming G7 meeting.

"From the technology side, there is no reason why [vaccine production in Africa] should not be possible," Sahin tells FT. "And because there's no reason anymore, we have to make it possible."

As Axios has previously reported, mRNA-based vaccines could be applied to a host of diseases, including influenza and malaria, and even cancer. FT notes that BioNTech is developing an mRNA-based vaccine for tuberculosis.

It adds that it will take years for BioNTech to get the facilities up and running. Sahin tells it that he expects it would take about a year to train a partner there to "fill and finish" vaccine does and about four years to ramp up capacity to handle earlier stages of vaccine production.

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