The biotechnology company, Moderna, says it will build a factory in Africa, to produce mRNA vaccines, including its Covid- 19 jabs.
Moderna said its goal was to produce up to half a billion doses annually in the new facility that could also include bottling and packaging capabilities.
The company said it plans to invest about 500m $ in the new factory. It added it would soon start looking for a country in which the plant would be built.
Building vaccine manufacturing sites in Africa will increase the continent’s future access to the drugs. But that does not answer calls from African leaders and activists to waive patent laws that would give more drugmakers access to details on how coronavirus vaccines are produced.
It also does not address the continent’s immediate Covid-19 vaccine shortages.
Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said he had not seen the Moderna statement and the company had not consulted with him.
At a news conference, he welcomed any efforts to address the continent’s medium- to long-term needs, but said Moderna’s plans would not solve its problems securing COVID-19 vaccine doses now.