Dec 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Moderna looks beyond Covid vaccines for Kenya factory

Kenya now says Moderna’s US$500 million (Ksh57.5 billion) vaccine factory has a crucial role to play in the fight against other diseases beyond the Covid-19 pandemic amid a global spate of coronavirus vaccines will play.

The comments come amid a reported global vaccine glut that has crept up in a world once desperate for immunization against the coronavirus, and fears about the viability of Covid-19 vaccines plants in the pipeline.

But Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said vaccine plants in Kenya’s pipeline, including Moderna’s, would also produce other vaccines. Therefore, the Covid-19 vaccine glut would not affect the construction plans.

“They will make vaccines…not just Covid vaccines,” Mr Kagwe told Business Daily.< /p>

Mr Kagwe ruled out concerns that the glut of Covid-19 vaccine production in Kenya and the rest of Africa could derail plans to build vaccine factories.

“No”, [we do don’t see],” he said.

Moderna announced in early March that it expects to invest about US$500 million (Ksh57.5 billion) in the Kenya vaccine manufacturing facility and up to 500 million mRNA -To supply doses of vaccines for the African continent.

The American biotechnology giant also had plans to start canning its Covid vaccine in Africa as early as 2023, following the agreement with the Kenyan government.< /p>< p>Moderna told the Business Daily on Friday, “that the plant for mRNA-Thera peutics and vaccines, rather than being specific to Covid-19.”

“We have entered into a memorandum of u We agree with the Government of the Republic of Kenya to build a state-of-the-art mRNA facility in Africa — the intent would be for this facility to produce mRNA vaccines, including but not limited to Covid-19 vaccines,” Moderna said in a further email.

Moderna has several other vaccines based on the mRNA Technology developed, including against respiratory syncytial virus, HIV and shingles.

Read:Moderna to set up a vaccine factory in Kenya

Vaccine manufacturers have invested in massive manufacturing capacity over the past year, and some of these only came on stream after most countries had two doses for most of their populations.

The global adaptation to living with the virus – with exceptions of China and Hong Kong practicing Covid Zero — has also diluted the urgency of booster shots, according to analysts.

The Institute of India Ltd, the world’s largest vaccine maker and a key supplier of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries, said last month it’s manufacturing new batches of Covid vaccine halted after its stockpile grew to 200 million doses amid a global glut, it said.

The Indian company also makes the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford Shot by Novovax Inc.

Several countries across Africa have eased restrictions linked to the pandemic and eased rules around masking and quarantine, even as cases are increasing in some regions in the rest of the world.

Kenya plans to vaccinate 27.8 million Kenyans and has purchased vaccine doses from Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson to complement Astrazeneca vaccines.

However, the vaccination initiative has been slowed by the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Kenya lifted Covid-19 measures, including wearing face masks in public, after months of experiencing a case rate of less than one percent.

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