Bill Gates announced at the 2023 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting a $40 million investment to push toxic mRNA gene therapies in Africa.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the investment will “advance access to mRNA research and vaccine manufacturing technology that will support low- and middle-income countries’ (LMICs) capacity to develop high-quality, lifesaving vaccines at scale.”

The Associated Press noted Africa was the last continent in line to receive the experimental COVID-19 mRNA injections.

Should we remind the ‘experts’ that Africa had one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates?

The NIH Library states:

The impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been substantially lower compared to countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The World Health Organization (WHO) African Region reported more than 3.9 million confirmed cases and 94,217 deaths, as of June 27, 2021.5 Moreover, the mortality rate of COVID-19 per million in Africa is considerably lower than in all other WHO regions other than the Western Pacific


Yet, Bill Gates will try his hardest to ‘convince’ the continent to accept mRNA vaccines.

The Associated Press reports:

While it could still take at least three more years before any of the vaccines are approved and on the market, the foundation said that its mRNA investment marks an important step forward in improving vaccine equity.

“Whether it’s for local diseases in Africa like Rift Valley (fever) or for global diseases like TB, mRNA looks like a very promising approach,” Bill Gates told The Associated Press on Sunday after visiting one of the facilities involved, the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal. “And so it allows us to bring in lots of African capabilities to work on these vaccines, and then this can be scaled up.”

The announcement comes as the foundation opens its annual three-day Grand Challenges event, which brings together scientists and public health researchers from around the world.

Institut Pasteur, along with the South Africa-based company Biovac, will be using an mRNA research and manufacturing platform that was developed by Quantoom Biosciences in Belgium. The two Africa-based vaccine manufacturers are receiving $5 million each in funding from the foundation, while another $10 million is earmarked for other companies that have not yet been named. The remaining $20 million is going to Quantoom “to further advance the technology and lower costs.”

From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

The move builds on lessons the foundation has learned from more than 20 years of working with vaccine manufacturers in LMICs and the opportunity to leverage recent scientific advances to develop low-cost, high-quality health tools that reach more people around the world. mRNA technology is considered a potential game-changer for a range of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and Lassa fever, which disproportionately affect people in LMICs. This new technology can significantly lower the costs of mRNA research and manufacturing and enable expanded access—helping to close critical gaps.

“Putting innovative mRNA technology in the hands of researchers and manufacturers in Africa and around the world will help ensure more people benefit from next-generation vaccines,” said Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Nigeria’s coordinating minister of health and social welfare and a global expert on vaccines. “This collaboration is an encouraging step that will increase access to critical health technologies and help African countries develop vaccines that meet the needs of their people.”

The foundation announced a total of US$40 million in funding to advance access to Quantoom Biosciences’ low-cost, mRNA research and manufacturing platform, which was developed with an early-research Grand Challenges grant made to its parent company, Univercells. The Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) and Biovac, research institutes with vaccine manufacturing experience based in Senegal and South Africa, respectively, will receive US$5 million each to acquire the technology and will be able to use it to develop locally relevant vaccines. To further advance the technology and lower costs for commercialization, the foundation also will provide US$20 million to Quantoom Biosciences, ensuring LMICs can benefit from the next-generation mRNA health tools. The Gates Foundation will grant another US$10 million to other LMIC vaccine manufacturers to be named.

This new funding builds on the foundation’s previous US$55 million investment in mRNA manufacturing technology.

“Expanding our capacity to discover and manufacture affordable mRNA vaccines in Africa is an important and necessary step towards vaccine self-reliance in the region,” said Dr. Amadou Sall, CEO of IPD. “We welcome this new funding, which will promote the development of lifesaving technologies on the continent while also contributing to global health security by expanding the supply and access to vaccines—allowing us to achieve greater health equity worldwide.”

mRNA vaccines have simpler research and manufacturing processes than traditional vaccines, so expanding access to this next-generation technology can help countries like Senegal and South Africa gain autonomy to discover and develop low-cost, high-quality vaccines for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis that are consistent with their health priorities.

“Innovation can be transformative, but only if it reaches the people who need it most,” said Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac. “This collaboration will help close critical gaps in access to promising mRNA vaccines against diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest. It will also assist us in our mission to establish end-to-end vaccine manufacturing capability at scale in Africa for global supply.”

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