Moderna CEO in Davos: we want mRNA factories on every continent

Photo Illustration: Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said on Wednesday that he would like to have factories making vaccines based on its messenger RNA technology on every continent as the U.S. company prepares to build four facilities.

“We're talking to a couple more countries because I would really like on every continent to have MRNA capacity,” he said on a panel at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

The company is building or planning to build factories in Canada, Australia, Britain and Kenya, he said.

Its COVID-19 vaccines are made in the United States and Switzerland.

What are mRNA vaccines?

Vaccines help prevent infection by preparing the body to fight foreign invaders (such as bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens). Vaccines introduce into the body a harmless piece of a particular bacteria or virus, triggering an immune response. Most vaccines contain a weakened or dead bacteria or virus.

However, scientists have developed a new type of vaccine that uses a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) rather than part of an actual bacteria or virus. Messenger RNA is a type of RNA that is necessary for protein production. Once cells finish making a protein, they quickly break down the mRNA.