Gates Foundation Pledges $40 Million to Help Develop Covid Vaccines in Africa

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $40 million to assisting numerous African businesses in developing messenger RNA vaccines across the continent.

Quantoom Biosciences in Belgium has developed an mRNA research and manufacturing platform that will be used by Institut Pasteur and Biovac in South Africa.

The foundation will provide $5 million in funding to both vaccine makers, with an additional $10 million set aside for undisclosed companies.

With the creation of COVID-19 vaccines by firms such as Pfizer and Moderna, messenger RNA vaccine technology rose to prominence. This method uses genetic code fragments to tell the body to create specific proteins, thereby transforming it into a mini-vaccine factory.

“The idea is that many of the future vaccines, whether it’s for local diseases in Africa like Rift Valley or for global diseases like TB, mRNA looks like a very promising approach. And so it allows us to bring in lots of African capabilities to work on these vaccines, and then this can be scaled up,” explained Bill Gates.

This effort intends to alleviate vaccine distribution disparities, as Africa was one of the last places to get COVID-19 vaccinations during the epidemic.

Although these vaccines may take up to three years to receive approval and hit the market, the foundation sees this mRNA investment as a crucial step toward vaccine equity.

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