The German co-developer of one of the world’s leading coronavirus vaccines, BioNTech, is training its sights on other infectious diseases, including malaria. In late July, the company from the southwestern city of Mainz launched its “malaria project” that aims produce a safe and effective vaccine by the end of 2022.
The vaccine will be based on the same messenger RNA technology as BioNTech’s anti-Covid-19 inoculation. Initally BioNTech was focused on combatting cancer before partially shifting its attention to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are committed to bringing our innovations to those who need them most,” said BioNTEch CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin in a statement. “Together with our partners, we will do whatever it takes to develop a safe and effective mRNA-based malaria vaccine that will prevent the disease, reduce mortality and ensure a sustainable solution for the African continent and other regions affected by this disease. Our efforts will include cutting-edge research and innovation, significant investments in vaccine development, the establishment of manufacturing facilities, and the transfer of manufacturing expertise to production sites on the African continent and wherever else it is needed.”
The World Health Organization says that there were 229 million cases of malaria in 2019, 409,000 of them fatal. 94 percent of cases and deaths come from Africa.