Rwanda has received the first batch of BioNTainers to begin an end-to-end mRNA vaccine production in Africa for the first time.
The containers arrive exactly 3 years since the first Covid-19 case was detected in Rwanda on 14 March 2020.
On Monday, President Paul Kagame received Dr. Sierk Pötting, COO of BioNTech Group, Dr. Thomas Gersdorf, BioNTech Chief of Staff & Holm Keller of Kenup Foundation, following the arrival of the first shipment of BioNTainers, the first step in building a local vaccine manufacturing ecosystem.
BioNTainers will be equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines targeted to the needs of the African Union member states, which could conceivably include the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and BioNTech’s investigational malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, if they are successfully developed, approved or authorized by regulatory authorities.
The estimated initial annual capacity of e. g. the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be about 50 million doses.
Manufacturing in the BioNTainers in Rwanda is expected to commence approximately 12 to 18 months after their installation.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan facility, with a size of about 30,000 square meters, will be initially equipped with two BioNTainers (one for the production of mRNA, and one for the production of the formulated bulk drug product).
The company expects to set up additional factories in Senegal and South Africa in close coordination with its partners in the respective countries.
The initial site will become a node in a decentralized and robust African end-to-end manufacturing network.
All vaccines to be manufactured in the network will be dedicated to people residing in member states of the African Union.