Rwanda will start production of vaccines against start production of vaccines against global threats like the Coivid-19, which intends to bridge accessibility gap.
This was announced during an event that convened the Ministry of Health, Germany biotechnology giant BioNTech, University of Rwanda, and the kENUP foundation, a global organization that promotes research and innovation for Europe with public and societal benefit.
The event was held at the University of Rwanda Gikondo campus in Kigali city on 1 March 2022.
“Local vaccine manufacturing is a success in Rwanda and in Africa, it requires strong and sustainable partnerships among all stakeholders including collaborations between academia and pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Minister of Health said.
“kENUP foundation in collaboration with BioNTech are committed to partner with Rwanda for mRNA vaccines production and technology transfer to improve supply of vaccines in Africa. To this end, a sustainable production of BioNTech mRNA vaccines is expected to be established in Rwanda in the reasonable period, in fact we should expect it in 24 months, maximum,” Dr. Ngamije added.
The period for local production of mRNA-based vaccines was announced after Rwanda inked a deal with Germany biotechnology giant, BioNTech to establish the first mRNA-based vaccines manufacturing plant that is estimated to cost $116m last year in October 2021.
According to the Ministry of Health, the construction of the vaccine production plant will start in June, this year. It is expected to produce at least 50 million vaccine doses annually.
Last year, BioNTech announced that the decision to manufacture vaccines in Africa was as a result of a meeting in Kigali between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Daniel M. Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech and Sierk Poetting, CEO of BioNTech and other stakeholders, under the auspices of the kENUP Foundation.
During the latest event in Kigali Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development said that manufacturing vaccines and technology transfer in Africa is giving the continent a vaccine production independence in fighting future pandemics.
“Rwanda is one of the countries in Africa where BioNTech wants to invest in setting up vaccine production facilities. If the continent is supplied with high-quality vaccines made in Africa, that is good insurance against future pandemics and other diseases,” Schulze said.