Australia to build own mRNA vaccine plant with Moderna
SYDNEY, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Australia will soon have the first manufacturing plant in the Southern Hemisphere to produce mRNA vaccines for a wide range of diseases including COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses.
Pharmaceutical giant Moderna signed a 10-year agreement with Australia's federal government and the Victorian government to work with Monash University, one of the nation's leading biomedical research institutions, to create the facility, which is expected to produce up to 100 million vaccine doses annually.
Moderna said it would give Australians ready access to the company's COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax, and provide mRNA manufacturing capabilities in the case of a new pandemic, such as avian influenza or another novel pathogen.
In announcing the deal on Monday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the pandemic had "shown us how important local manufacturing capability is to our security and to our health."
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was also supportive of the project, predicting "it will save lives, create jobs and strengthen Victoria's position as a national leader in medical manufacturing."
Monash University Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner said the facility, due to open in 2024, would complement the university's own ribonucleic acid (RNA) ecosystem with "ground-breaking work that will lead to the rapid development of life-saving vaccines and therapeutic treatments for infectious diseases and cancers."
The Moderna facility will be part of the Monash Technology Precinct, which already contributes about 9.4 billion Australian dollars (about 6.61 billion U.S. dollars) annually to the Victorian economy with a combined workforce of about 95,000 people spreading among 13,000 high-tech businesses, according to the university.
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