By Kaya 959 News
South Africa will manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccine.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday welcomed the collaboration between SA’s Biovac Institute and global pharmaceutical producer Pfizer as a major breakthrough in the continent’s fight against COVID-19.
“The agreement will contribute significantly to health security and sustainability on our continent, which currently has the least access to vaccination in the world,” he said.
Biovac has been appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for distribution within Africa, making it the first company on the continent to produce an mRNA-based vaccine.
“Biovac will immediately embark on technological transfer activities that includes on-site development and equipment installation for the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccines”.
Biovac expects the facility will be brought into the Pfizer-BioNtech supply chain by the end of 2021.
It will obtain drug substances from BioNTech’s facilities in Germany.
Ramaphosa explained that at full operational capacity, the annual COVID vaccine production will aim for 100 million finished doses annually.
“All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 African Union member states. Biovac’s expansion in production and acquisition of specialised equipment related to mRNA technology entails an investment of shared cost of R200 Million in the coming six months,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the partnership between Biovac and Pfizer is a breakthrough in our effort to overcome global vaccine inequity.
The protection of Africans is a necessary and critical contribution to the protection of humanity as a whole.
“This partnership demonstrates what we can achieve when the state sector and the private sector craft a shared vision and pool resources for the greater good of society. This collaboration recognises the talent and technology that exists on our continent that can be harnessed in our irreversible march of sustainable and inclusive development,” he said.
African Union Special Envoy on COVID-19 and member of the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, Strive Masiyiwa, said the only way to guarantee Africa’s access to vaccines now and in the future is through this type of strategic manufacturing partnership.