mRNA Hub

The mRNA technology transfer hub

Announced on 21 June 2021, the objective of the technology transfer hub is to build capacity in low- and middle-income countries to produce mRNA vaccines through a centre of excellence and training (the mRNA vaccine technology hub). The hub is located at Afrigen, Cape Town, South Africa, and will work with a network of technology recipients (spokes) in low- and middle-income countries. 

How it will work

Concretely, the Hub at Afrigen will share technology and technical know-how with local producers. WHO and partners will bring training and financial support to build the necessary human capital for production know-how, quality control and product regulation, and will assist where needed with the necessary licenses.

The Hub and partners create a global common good for the benefit of all by providing a range of services along the entire vaccine value chain. Recipients will be able to contribute to the global effort to increase local vaccine production capacity, and may sign agreements with producers or develop vaccines locally.

Key achievements to date

  • Launched in July 2021, the South African Hub at Afrigen is fully ready to operate, with the main equipment in place;
  • The first batches of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have already been produced;
  • WHO, with the support of an expert group, has selected a number of beneficiaries in all regions to receive technology transfer on mRNA vaccines;
  • Specialized training will be provided through training centres and by WHO so that beneficiary countries can start producing safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible.


The initiative is supported by WHO, the Medicines Patent Pool and the Act-Accelerator/COVAX

The South African hub comprises Afrigen Biologics, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and Biovac, a South African vaccine producer. Within this consortium, Afrigen is the entity mandated to establish mRNA vaccine production technology, SAMRC is providing the research and Biovac is the first manufacturing spok