New consortium to boost Covid-19 vaccine production in South Africa 

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), the World Health Organization (WHO), Afrigen Biologics, the Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa (Biovac), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have signed a letter of intent to address the global imbalance of manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines. 

This letter of intent brings together partners to establish a South African mRNA technology transfer hub that will allow for greater and more diversified vaccine manufacturing capability, strengthen African regional health security, and respond more equitably to Covid-19 and future pandemics.  

Through a shared responsibility approach, the organisations will ensure the most suitable platform technologies are selected for the development of Covid-19 vaccines, that technology transfer is in place, and that funding is secured for the hub, clinical studies, and manufacturing support. It will also ensure that this platform is sustainable, inclusive, and will lead to vaccine security for Africa in the future.   

“Inequitable manufacturing and distribution of vaccines is behind the wave of death, which is now sweeping across many low and middle-income countries that have been starved of vaccine supply,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization. “Building vaccine manufacturing capacity in South Africa is the first step in a broader effort to boost local production to address health emergencies and strengthen regional health security.”  

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