Tesla to make mobile molecule printers for German COVID-19 vaccine developer

Elon Musk has called the portable vaccine units ‘microfactories.’ (AFP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Tesla to make mobile molecule printers for German COVID-19 vaccine developer

  • Tesla Inc. is building mobile molecule printers to help make the potential COVID-19 vaccine
  • Tesla had earlier bought CureVac, is also could increase its vaccine output tenfold

FRANKFURT, Germany: Tesla Inc. is building mobile molecule printers to help make the potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CureVac in Germany, the electric-car maker’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

CureVac, an unlisted German company, has said it is developing portable, automated mRNA production units that it calls printers and which Musk described as “RNA microfactories.”

They are being designed to be shipped to remote locations, where they can churn out its vaccine candidate and other mRNA-based therapies depending on the recipe fed into the machine.

But for the immediate pandemic use — should its vaccine candidate win market approval – it has production sites with regulatory approval in Germany with a capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses.

The company, based in Tuebingen and backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a pioneer of the so-called messenger RNA approach, which is also pursued by BioNTech and its partner Pfizer as well as Moderna.

RNA molecules are single-stranded versions of the DNA double-helix. Thanks to their recurring molecular pattern, they can be produced in a relatively simple biochemical process that do not require genetically modified living cells, which are needed to produce most other biotech drugs.

CureVac is also building anew stationary site that could increase its output tenfold to billions of doses.

The “microfactories” would be built at Tesla Grohmann Automation in Germany, Musk said in a Twitter thread late on Wednesday.

Tesla acquired the company that develops automated manufacturing systems for batteries and fuel cells in 2016 to expand its production.

CureVac has been working with Tesla Grohmann to develop the mobile printer technology, a person familiar with CureVac said.

Musk did not elaborate on his plans. Tesla and CureVac were not immediately available to comment.

Musk, who is known to make impromptu announcements on Twitter, had in March said that Tesla has extra FDA-approved ventilators that can be shipped free of cost to hospitals within regions where the electric-car maker delivers. 


Proposals to cut expats in Kuwait reviewed by National Assembly committee

Updated 10 August 2020

Proposals to cut expats in Kuwait reviewed by National Assembly committee

  • One of the seven plans submitted by members of parliament calls to set a percentage for each migrant community in the country
  • The Kuwaiti government’s plan calls to replace about 160,000 expat working in the public sector with nationals

DUBAI: Thousands of expats in Kuwait are expected to leave the country as talks over the decision have started between the government and the National Assembly human resources committee.
The government and parliamentary proposals are being reviewed by the committee, national daily Kuwait Times reported.
One of the seven plans submitted by members of parliament calls to set a percentage for each migrant community in the country.
The Kuwaiti government’s plan also calls to replace about 160,000 expat working in the public sector with nationals, but did not provide a timeframe.
The proposal also suggests that about 370,000 expats who show a “negative impact” on the country or are illegal residents can be dismissed by taking short-term measures.
The government added in its plan that “marginal” workers should be reduced by 25 percent. It also expects to lower temporary employment contracts by 30 percent in government jobs.
The government also discussed the massive increase in the expat population in the country between 2005 and 2019, as it went up to 4.42 million. It added that during this time, the citizens’ population increased from 860,000 to 1.335 million.