African effort to replicate mRNA vaccine targets disparities

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — A team of young scientists in South Africa is assembling the equipment needed to reverse engineer Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. The scientists are effectively making an end run around an industry that has vastly prioritized rich countries over poor in vaccine sales and manufacturing. The research team in Cape Town is working with highly unorthodox backing from the World Health Organization. WHO is leading attempts to replicate proprietary technology in a zero-hour attempt to address global inequities in vaccine access. Moderna says it’s more efficient to expand its own production than share its technology and has pledged to build a vaccine factory somewhere in Africa at some point.