Elon Musk, chief executive of the electric car manufacturer, said on Twitter on Wednesday that Tesla is making mobile molecular printers to help create a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by CureVac in Germany.
CureVac, an unlisted German company, said it is developing a portable automatic mRNA production device, which is called a printer, and Musk calls it an “RNA micro factory.”
They are designed to be transported to remote areas, where vaccine candidates and other mRNA-based therapies can be produced based on recipes sent to the machine.
However, if it is to be used in pandemics immediately-if its vaccine candidate is approved by the market-it has a production base approved by the regulatory agency in Germany that can produce hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine.
The company is located in Tubingen and is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is a pioneer in the so-called messenger RNA approach, and BioNTech and its partners Pfizer and Moderna are also sought after.
RNA molecules are the single-stranded form of the DNA double helix. Because of their repetitive molecular patterns, they can be produced through relatively simple biochemical processes without the need to produce transgenic living cells required for most other biotech drugs.
CureVac is also building a new fixed site that can increase its production tenfold to billions of doses.
Musk said on Twitter Wednesday night that the “microfactory” will be built at Tesla Groman Automation in Germany.
As a side project, Tesla is building RNA microfactories for CureVac and other possible companies
-Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2020
Tesla acquired companies that develop automated manufacturing systems for batteries and fuel cells in 2016 to expand production.
A person familiar with CureVac said that CureVac has been working with Tesla Grohmann to develop mobile printer technology.
Musk did not elaborate on his plan. Tesla and CureVac were not immediately available for comment.
As we all know, Musk made an impromptu statement on Twitter. He said in March that Tesla has additional FDA-approved ventilators that can be transported to hospitals in areas where electric car manufacturers are located for free.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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