German pharma firm BioNTech on Wednesday announced plans to set up vaccine manufacturing facilities made from shipping containers in Africa.

The modular design unveiled at a ceremony in Marburg, Germany includes shipping containers equipped for manufacturing vaccines, including the COVID-19 jab developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.

“The company has introduced its approach to establishing scalable vaccine production by developing and delivering turnkey mRNA manufacturing facilities based on a container solution,” read a BioNTech statement.

It said the model “consists of one drug substance and one formulation module, each called a BioNTainer.”

“Each module is built of six ISO sized containers (2.6m x 2.4m x 12m) … This allows for mRNA vaccine production in bulk,” the statement said.

“The BioNTainer will be equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines targeted to the needs of the African Union member states, for example the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and BioNTech’s investigational malaria and tuberculosis vaccines,” it added.

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