18 January 2023
China may soon receive Moderna's mRNA vaccine for COVID-19.
The drug company's leader, Stephane Bancel, said Moderna is discussing supplying China with vaccines.
Bancel spoke with the Reuters news agency at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland. Moderna is based in the United States.
Bancel said he is also talking with Chinese officials about factories and other health products, including cancer treatments.
"What I really want to understand is how do we help the Chinese government (address) the needs they have from a healthcare standpoint," he said.
Bancel did not say anything more about the plan, except for that he hopes to visit China this year.
China so far has only permitted its own vaccines for COVID-19. The country is currently experiencing a surge of infections after it ended the severe restrictions of its "zero COVID" policy in late 2022.
The Chinese vaccines do not use the latest technology. Instead of using mRNA like the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, they use the inactive form of the virus.
International health experts believe the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations may create an even larger virus outbreak. Many Chinese people living in cities return to their hometowns for celebrations. Some rural areas do not have good hospitals and medical centers.
Moderna's Bancel said his company is also working with Merck on using mRNA technology to treat cancer. They are researching an experimental vaccine for melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer.
In a group discussion at the WEF, Bancel said he wants Moderna to have factories around the world working on mRNA vaccines. He said Moderna is building, or plans to build, factories in Canada, Australia, Britain and Kenya.
I'm Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by Reuters.
Words in This Story
standpoint –n. a way in which something is thought about or considered
surge –n. a fast increase
outbreak –n. the sudden spread of disease or violence