German biotechnology company, BioNTech has announced plans to use mRNA technology that is currently used to produce its coronavirus vaccine for developing malaria treatment. BioNTech that produced its first globally approved coronavirus vaccine with U.S. partner Pfizer intends to initiate clinical trials for a safe and highly efficient malaria vaccine by next year.
Furthermore, the company plans to open an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa, a region that is struggling to receive enough COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Malaria is a fatal viral infection. According to the World Health Organization, there were an anticipated 229 million malaria cases and at least 409,00 deaths in 2019. The majority of cases occurred in Africa, with children under the age of five being the most vulnerable.
BioNTech claims that they are collaborating with partners to assess how they can establish a workable mRNA manufacturing unit on the African continent for supplying vaccines to African countries. Once built, the facility would be capable of producing a variety of mRNA-based vaccines.
As per sources, Pfizer and BioNTech have committed to supply 1 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to middle- and low-income countries this year, followed by another billion doses in 2022. Last week, the two organizations announced that the Biovac Institute in South Africa would be the first on the continent to begin manufacturing their coronavirus vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech developed a highly effective mRNA-based vaccine to target the virus quickly. The vaccine is being used in many countries and is aiding to lower the number of infections and deaths.
Sources claim that owing to the success of the mRNA Covid vaccine, and the other drugmakers are also looking forward to developing new vaccines leveraging the same technology. Additionally, BioNTech has previously stated that it is working on a tuberculosis vaccine candidate with clinical trials scheduled for 2022.