Australia to make own mRNA vaccines

(Gilead Sciences via AP)

Australia will set up its own mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility to help the country prepare for future pandemics.

The facility will be built in Victoria as part of a partnership between the federal and state governments as well as vaccine manufacturer Moderna.

It’s expected the facility could produce as many as 100 million vaccines each year from 2024.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who will announce the mRNA vaccine facility on Tuesday, said it would help the country be prepared should there be another pandemic.

“This investment will continue to secure Australia’s future economic prosperity while protecting lives by providing access to world-leading mRNA vaccines made on Australian soil,” Mr Morrison said.

“The new mRNA manufacturing facility in Victoria will produce respiratory vaccines for potential future pandemics and seasonal health issues such as the common flu.”

While Australia has been able to manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic, such as AstraZeneca, it has not been able to make the newer mRNA vaccines.

The country’s amount of mRNA vaccines – such as Moderna and Pfizer – has been reliant on supplies from overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mRNA facility will be able to make COVID-19 vaccines as well as other vaccines that use the technology once they have been approved by the country’s medical regulator.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the new facility would also play a leading role in medical research.

“This investment will mean world-leading clinical trials, a strong local workforce and creating opportunities through supply chain activities,” he said.

The federal government is also set to invest $25 million in the next financial year to help researchers conduct clinical trials of mRNA vaccines.

It comes as Victorian scientists created Australia’s first mRNA vaccine last month.

Researchers at Monash University developed the vaccine during a five-month period, and are now conducting clinical trials.


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