The Covid-19 mRNA vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the US, according to the CDC. File picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
The Covid-19 mRNA vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the US, according to the CDC. File picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Ugandan mRNA vaccine plant opened in African milestone

By Crispin Adriaanse Time of article published Jul 7, 2021

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto laid the foundation stone for the construction of an mRNA vaccine-manufacturing facility by Dei BioPharma Ltd in Uganda.

The facility “will focus on applying biotechnology to solve the health challenges of humanity through the creation of novel drugs, vaccines and diagnostics,” Museveni said on Monday.

The facility is said to be the brainchild of Matthias Magoola, the founder of multiple Dei Group initiatives in mining and medical research, according to Dei Group of Companies International website.

The facility is located in Matugga, roughly 16km north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, according to State House Uganda.

Ruto accompanied Museveni at the ceremony. Kenya’s Equity Bank Ltd funded the facility, Museveni and Ruto’s tweets revealed.

Museveni said: “All our health problems are also economic opportunities being taken advantage of by others. Africans are totally absent. That is why we have a shortage of vaccines in the whole of Africa. This facility has come at the right time”.

Museveni emphasised the rich biodiversity of Africa and the need for research into the potential medicinal properties of plants.

The development of the mRNA facility is in line with Museveni’s opening remarks at the World Health Summit (WHS) Regional Meeting 2021 held in Kampala on June 27.

“I can assure you that by the end of 2021, we shall no longer be waiting for outsiders to rescue us from mass death,” he said at the time, adding that a Ugandan vaccine for Covid-19 would hopefully be ready by the end of November 2021.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed in May that Rwanda was also seeking to obtain Africa’s first mRNA facility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine that "teach our cells how to make a protein –or even just a piece of a protein – that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.

That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.”

The Covid-19 mRNA vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the US, according to the CDC.

African News Agency (ANA)

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