Science

WHO reviewing companies keen to manufacture mRNA vaccines

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 11, 2021

With countries and companies showing interest in making mRNA vaccines, the World Health Organisation said its was conducting a “technical review” and will soon engage in discussions for implementation.

Two months ago, the WHO had mooted the idea of an mRNA technology transfer hub to facilitate increased global production of mRNA vaccines. “We have received expressions of interest both from a number of companies and from a number of countries wanting to receive the technology and set up production plants,” said WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We continue to call on companies with mRNA technology to share it through the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool,” he added.

His call comes even as US Biden made a commitment to supply 500 million Pfizer vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, of which, 200 million would be supplied by later this year. On Friday, another commitment of one billion vaccines is expected from the G7 countries, whose leaders are meeting in the UK.

The promises come against the backdrop of an inequitable distribution of vaccines across the world.

“Six months since the first vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44 per cent of the world’s doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4 per cent,” said Dr Tedros, adding that “the most frustrating thing about this statistic is that it hasn’t changed in months”.

Target to vaccinate

He hoped that the pledges to donate vaccines are fulfilled in June and July. The effort spearheaded by the WHO aims to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the population of all countries by September, and at least 30 per cent by the year-end.

“To reach these targets, we need an additional 250 million doses by September, and we need 100 million doses just in June and July,”he pointed out.

The WHO-supported Covax, he said, was the best way to distribute vaccines quickly and equitably. “Sharing vaccines now is essential for ending the acute phase of the pandemic. Scaling up production is also essential,” he added.

Published on June 11, 2021

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