Latin American manufacturers complete first training in mRNA technology in bid to improve regional vaccine production

mRNA technology

Cape Town, 18 March 2022 (PAHO) - A group of vaccine manufacturers from Argentina and Brazil have become the first to receive technology transfer training in mRNA vaccines at Afrigen, South Africa, as part of a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) platform to advance the availability of key medical health technologies in the region.

This training is a key component of the Regional Platform to Advance the Manufacturing of COVID-19 Vaccines and other Health Technologies in the Americas, which is a collaboration between PAHO, its Member States and regional partners, aims to improve local production capacities to address the inequities in access to essential medicines and other health technologies faced by countries in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the training, which took place from 7 to 9 March 2022 at the Afrigen’s laboratory in Cape Town, scientists from Sinergium Biotech in Argentina, and the Bio-Manguinhos Institute of Technology in Brazil  learned about Afrigen’s manufacturing processes, including the formulation of lipid nanoparticles, data analytics, and the production and control of vaccines using mRNA technology.

“The benefit of this training is enormous,” Sotiris Missailidis, Research and Development Director at Bio-Manguinhos said. “It enables countries to develop and produce their own mRNA vaccines and supply these where they are most needed.”

“mRNA technology is a huge field to explore,” added German Sanchez Alberti, Project Manager at Sinergium. “The technology transfer will enable companies to manufacture vaccines not only for COVID-19 but for influenza and other respiratory viruses.”

The Latin America and the Caribbean region imports 10 times more pharmaceuticals than it exports, leaving it vulnerable to fluctuations in global supply, particularly during emergencies.

Severe shortages of COVID-19 vaccines were a wake-up call in the past year, highlighting the urgent need to rapidly increase regional production of vaccines.

The PAHO Regional Platform to Advance the Manufacturing of COVID-19 Vaccines and other Health Technologies in the Americas, launched in August 2021, convenes public and private stakeholders to incentivize the development and manufacturing of essential health technologies.

So far, the Bio-Manguinhos Institute of Technology on Immunobiologicals at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) in Brazil, and Sinergium Biotech, a private sector biopharmaceutical company in Argentina, were selected to serve as regional arms for the development and production of mRNA-based vaccines in Latin America.

The World Health Organization, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and PAHO have joined forces to cooperate in the development of this initiative with the selected centers and other partners.