If all goes according to plan, South Africa will be the first in Africa to produce a regionally made coronavirus vaccine.
This follows revelations that the country is about to sign a deal to help produce a Covid-19 vaccine, potentially boosting access to immunization on a continent with limited manufacturing capacity.
The new developments come amid ongoing three vaccine trials in the country.
South Africa is the only – and first country in Africa that hosts several clinical studies.
It has 2,000 people in the AstraZeneca Plc and University of Oxford vaccine trial, while Novavax Inc. announced earlier this month it’s starting a Phase 2b clinical trial. And one-fifth of the 60,000 volunteers expected to enrol worldwide in Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine trial will be coming from South Africa.
All three trials are at a positive advanced stage.
Speaking at a press announcement, Helen Rees, the chair of the organization’s Scientific Advisory Board broke the news that the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute has been considered to work with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a global organization funding vaccine developments across the world to come up with a locally made vaccine.
Although the deal hasn’t been signed between the South African government and the international organization, the groundbreaking developments call for celebrations in South Africa and Africa as a whole.
A manufacturing agreement will “put Africa on a similar path to other continents, much like the clinical trials are doing,” Morena Makhoana, Biovac’s chief executive officer said in a statement.
With 618,286 confirmed COID-19 cases, South Africa has the world’s fifth-largest outbreak and is desperately in need of a holy grail.