💊 BioNTech inaugurates its Rwanda site; Novo Nordisk Foundation funds respiratory vaccine research; Boehringer's kidney drug shows promise
#496 | Al-Shifa in crisis; Gut bacteria stronger together; CLIMADE? More like clim-aid
Hello, and welcome back to The Kable for the lightest edition ever in our history. But with end-of-year holidays so close, can we really blame the world for slowing down?
A couple of days ago, WHO staff participated in a joint UN mission to deliver medicines and other supplies to Al-Shifa Hospital in north Gaza. Once the most important and largest referral hospital in Gaza, Al-Shifa is now only minimally functional. It needs to urgently resume at least basic operations for the sake of the thousands in need of life-saving care. With not enough space, food, safe water, and other essential supplies, the situation is disturbing, to say the least. Compared to 24 operational hospitals before the current attacks, currently, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital remains the only partially functional hospital in north Gaza, along with three minimally functional hospitals.
And finally, in a milestone for vaccine manufacturing in Africa, BioNTech has inaugurated its site in Kigali, Rwanda. The first BioNTainer has been set up as a high-tech manufacturing solution for mRNA medicines. The company intends to complete all buildings at this site and begin local training of specialised personnel here in 2024. Test mRNA production for process validation will kick off in 2025; if successful, the facility will serve as a “lighthouse project” for subsequent mRNA-based vaccine projects on the continent. Moreover, if BioNTech’s development of vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and mpox is successful, these shots will be produced at this new site.