MPP welcomes WHO announcement of next wave of technology recipients of mRNA vaccine technology hub
18 February 2022
Geneva – The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement of five new manufacturers from Africa that will receive the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines on the African continent in addition to Biovac in South Africa. The selected manufacturers are from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia.
“It is exciting to see the establishment of these new partnerships within the mRNA hub network, and through this initiative the strengthening of local production to increase the capacity of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to manufacture their own vaccines and health products,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP. “Access to quality health technologies is what the mRNA transfer hub is all about, and MPP will work closely with all partners to ensure access through our expertise in intellectual property management and voluntary licensing.”
The announcement was made at a ceremony hosted by the European Council, France, South Africa and WHO in the presence of President Macron, President Ramaphosa, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
Established in 2021, the global mRNA technology transfer hub aims to boost capacity of LMICs to produce mRNA vaccines. The Hub is located at Afrigen Biologics, Cape Town, and will work with a network of technology recipients, referred to as spokes, in LMICs.
This announcement by WHO follows a call for Expression of Interest issued by WHO in late 2021 for vaccine manufacturing companies in LMICs. Biovac in South Africa was identified as the first spoke when the project was established in July 2021. In September 2021, two further vaccine manufacturers were identified, Fiocruz in Brazil and Senergium in Argentina. These companies have already started their virtual training with Afrigen.
The Hub has already established mRNA vaccine production at laboratory scale and is currently validating production. The initiative is supported by WHO, MPP and the ACT-Accelerator/COVAX. MPP is also assisting WHO in negotiating with technical partners and in the governance of the Hub.