Partnership to produce Africa's first mRNA Covid vaccine

Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines (Afrigen), Thermo Fisher Scientific and Labotec are working together to ensure Africa does not forever remain dependent on other countries for vaccines (and other medicines). The strategic partnership has been established to produce the first African-developed mRNA Covid-19 vaccine while creating sustainable vaccine manufacturing capabilities on the continent.

Based in the Westen Cape, the mRNA vaccine Technology Transfer Hub is hosted by Afrigen. It is the first of its kind and scale in Africa which is capable of producing cGMP material for clinical trials. The goal of the hub is to establish an end-to-end sustainable vaccine manufacturing capability independent of first-world influence.

The fantastic partnership is the result of great collaboration across diverse teams, and is truly making a difference throughout Africa. Check out the video narrated by Deborah Shaw of Labotec which details the specifics of the partnership and project.

Single-use biotech fermenter

The partnership has also been vital in assembling the equipment needed by Afrigen, which in this case is a single-use biotech fermenter. The versatility that one obtains using single-use technology was perfectly suited for the multi-product design of the Afrigen facility.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is a leading supplier of single-use technology while Labotec is the distributor of these Thermo Fisher products in South Africa. The single-use fermenter will be used in the first step of mRNA vaccine manufacturing, which is the production of the DNA plasmid template in E. coli.

So far, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Labotec have provided amazing technical support to the mRNA hub. Both companies have heavily invested their time, money and expertise, rallying around Afrigen and providing support that will help ensure the success of this particularly important work.

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