MOROCCO – King Mohammed VI chaired the construction launching ceremony of the largest vaccine manufacturing plant in Africa for the establishment of Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines.

The industrial unit named SENSYO Pharmatech situated in the province of Benslimane, the Casablanca-Settat region seeks to establish Morocco as effective in pandemic crisis management and its consequences.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Africa represents 14% of the world’s population but only accounted for less than 0.1% of the world’s vaccine production.

Some of the challenges opposing vaccine production in Africa included high cost of manufacturing, dependent vaccine market, lack of technical capacity, absence of political will to invest in technologies among other reasons.

Through this project budgeted for US$223M, Morocco will bolster self-sufficiency in vaccine manufacturing in the African region and beyond.

In addition, it is part of Morocco’s vision to boost pharmaceutical research, clinical development as well as manufacturing and marketing of biopharmaceutical products.

“The goal of SENSYO Pharmatech between 2022-2025 is to manufacture the “active substance of more than 20 vaccines and bio-therapeutic products, including three anti-COVID vaccines, to cover more than 70% of the needs of the kingdom and more than 60% of those of Africa,” reports the Moroccan news agency MAP.

The Benslimane plant will include three industrial lines whose combined production capacity will reach 116 million units by 2023 and the country targets to begin the production of trial batches by July 30, 2022.

The agency further added that the industrial facilities will produce pre-filled syringes, liquid, and lyophilized vials.

The project is part of a public-private partnership, including Swedish company Recipharm, with a long-term goal to create an African pole of pharmaceutical and vaccine innovation in the country between 2023-2030.

“The creation of the pole will be part of a partnership between international partners in the fields of research and development of advanced technologies in vaccines and bio-therapeutic products as well as all Moroccan institutions concerned including the Ministries of Health, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Industry and Finance,” details the Moroccan News Agency.

Consequently, Morocco is producing the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, with more than three million doses being made per month in hopes to curb COVID-19 widespread.

By February it plans on producing five million doses and more than 20 million by the end of the year.

Despite the developments, Morocco is in a state of emergency due to high infection rate of the Omicron variant spread across the nation.

The COVID-19 vaccine mass production comes at a vital time when there have been 1,114,527 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 15,237 deaths in a population of 36 million Moroccans reported by WHO.

The report further added that as of 25 January 2022, a total of 52,076,304 vaccine doses have been administered with more than 23 million people having received a second dose of vaccine.

The government targets to immunize 80% of the population with Sinopharm and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines on its vaccination campaign to curb the pandemic.

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