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South Africa May Be First in Region to Produce Covid-19 Vaccine

South Africa May Be First in Region to Produce COVID-19 Vaccine

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South Africa could sign an agreement to help produce a COVID-19 vaccine, potentially improving access to vaccination on a continent with limited manufacturing capacities.
According to Helen Rees, chair of the organization’s scientific advisory board, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a global organization that funds vaccine development, sees the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute as a fill-finish site. The national vaccine company is one of the few in the country with the ability to package doses in sterile dispensers if clinical trials are successful.
“What we are looking for are partnerships,” said Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, in response to questions.
“Once that is signed, we can make an announcement.”
A manufacturing deal “will put Africa on a similar path to other continents, just as clinical trials do,” he said.
South Africa is the only country in Africa to host several clinical studies. It has 2,000 people participating in the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine trial and the University of Oxford, while Novavax Inc. earlier this month announced the start of a Phase 2b clinical trial.
One-fifth of the 60,000 volunteers expected to sign up globally for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the test will be in South Africa said Glenda Gray, chief executive of the South African Medical Research Council.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that we have a minimal capacity to manufacture vaccines across the African continent, even in countries like South Africa,” Rees said.
“But there is huge interest, and we need to have more countries capable of making vaccines.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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