Moderna announces plant in Africa as vaccine disparity grows

<div data-draftjs-conductor-fragment="{"blocks":[{"key":"7lg0k","text":"UFC Vegas 33 live stream results, ‘Hall vs Strickland’ play-by-play updates, UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"8emk","text":"\nWatch UFC MMA Fight 2021 Live Stream Free Online ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":1,"length":48,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":1,"length":48,"style":"UNDERLINE"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":1,"length":48,"key":0}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3tnt7","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"eh079","text":"","type":"atomic","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9diac","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c6ge2","text":" ","type":"atomic","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":1,"key":1}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"8g63j","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"887v0","text":"","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"62a7s","text":"UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland Live Stream Tv Covarege ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":60,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":0,"length":60,"style":"UNDERLINE"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":60,"key":2}],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"56b0v","text":"\nUltimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently put the finishing touches on the UFC Vegas 33 fight card, which takes place this Sat. night (July 31, 2021) from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming LIVE on both ESPN and ESPN+. Main event duties fall to middleweight contenders Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland, who collide for a spot in the 185-pound title chase. Before that clash of styles gets underway, bantamweight grapplers Kyung Ho Kang and Rani Yahya get their jits on for 135-pound bragging rights.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"7ll0l","text":"Main Event features Middleweights Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3qpm1","text":"Main Card at 9 p.m. ET and Prelims at 6 p.m. ET","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"75spa","text":"To subscribe visit ESPNPlus.com/ufc","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"27hkb","text":"ESPN+ available on ESPN.com and ESPN App for mobile and connected TV devices  ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"2upo","text":"UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland airs live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas this Saturday on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (English and Spanish) with prelims at 6 p.m. ET and the main card at 9 p.m. Live coverage includes UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Hall vs. Strickland on Friday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2 providing fans with exclusive insights and views on the biggest stories heading into Fight Night. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3t7t9","text":"The main event features middleweights, Uriah Hall and Sean “Tarzan” Strickland. The six-foot-tall Hall of Jamaica, who will be fighting on his 37th birthday, has a record of 18-9. He has won his last four bouts. Strickland, 6’1” and from Anaheim, California, is 23-3 and has also won his most recent four fights.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"3ab6b","text":"In the co-main event, bantamweights Kyung Ho Kang and Rani Yahya will face off. Kang, a 33-year-old from South Korea, holds a 17-8 record. Yahya, 36 and from Brazil, is 27-10-1.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"cjf1v","text":"Calling the action will be play-by-play announcer Brendan Fitzgerald, alongside analysts and former fighters Michael Bisping and Paul Felder. Megan Olivi will handle reporting duties.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"fg1r5","text":"The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"ch17q","text":"The Ultimate Fighter 29 on ESPN+: The Return of The Ultimate Fighter®: Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega continues Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. The 29th season of the iconic reality series features UFC® featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and No. 2 contender Brian Ortega coaching men’s bantamweights and middleweights for a coveted UFC contract. How to watch The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+ and other MMA Stories. TUF 29 is presented by Toyo Tires.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9ocud","text":"ESPN com","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"eebqc","text":"Our Real or Not: Will Uriah Hall become a title contender with a win on Saturday?","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"2esn9","text":"Thursday: Expert picks: Hall vs. Strickland","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"v7mb","text":"Friday: Viewers’ guide","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"9ohu9","text":"Social: @ESPNMMA Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"328p0","text":"Fans can sign-up for ESPN+ at any time at ESPN.com, ESPNPlus.com, or on the ESPN App.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"don1","text":"Programming (All times ET) \nFri., 7/30 5:30 p.m. UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN2 \n6:05 p.m. UFC Fight Night Pre-Show: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN+ \nSat., 7/31 6 p.m. UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland (Prelims) ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ \n9 p.m. UFC Fight Night presented by Modelo: Hall vs. Strickland (Main Card) ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ \n1 a.m.* UFC Fight Night Post Show: Hall vs. Strickland ESPN+","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[],"entityRanges":[],"data":{"textAlignment":"center"}},{"key":"83v6o","text":"* immediately following main 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The US-based pharmaceutical firm did not say where the production facility would be built but it envisages investing up to $500 million.

FILE PHOTO: Vials of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are seen in the town of Ricany near Prague, Czech Republic, February 25, 2021. (Reuters Archive)

US pharmaceutical firm Moderna announced it would build a plant in Africa, as pressure mounts on drugmakers to help ramp up Covid-19 vaccine production in areas that have received fewer doses.

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The biotech firm said it “will build a state-of-the-art mRNA facility in Africa with the goal of producing up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year.”

Moderna said earlier this year it would increase global production of its mRNA vaccine, and in August announced it would build a Canadian plant, as manufacturers struggled to meet soaring demand for Covid-19 shots worldwide.

However, the statement did not say where the facility would be built or give a date for its initiation – only that the company “expects to begin a process for country and site selection soon.”

The pharmaceutical firm said it anticipated investing up to $500 million in the new plant, which is “expected to include drug substance manufacturing,” as well as the opportunity for packaging capabilities.

“This may help, but there is a distribution issue with a whole infrastructure that is not in place,” Jean-Jacques Le Fur, an analyst said.

The announcement comes as US pharmaceutical firms face increasing pressure to lift patents on their coronavirus vaccines to help produce doses in regions where fewer have been received.

The World Health Organisation’s office for Africa said that half of the continent’s countries that have received vaccines have fully inoculated less than two percent of their populations.

In July, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they were partnering with the Biovac Group to bottle their serum in Cape Town, South Africa, beginning in 2022.

However, the creation of the messenger RNA – the most delicate and crucial step – will continue to be carried out in Europe.