WHO to set up hub to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa

According to WHO, the ‘tech transfer hub’ can make it possible for the African companies to begin the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines- the advanced technology now used in shots of Moderna and Pfizer- in as little as 9-12 months.

Created On: Jun 23, 2021 16:45 ISTModified On: Jun 23, 2021 16:46 IST
COVID-19 vaccine hub in South Africa

The World Health Organization has been setting up a hub in South Africa to give companies from the poor and middle-income countries the know-how and the licenses to produce Coronavirus Vaccines.

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa called WHO’s effort a historic step to spread lifesaving technology.

The Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that he is delighted to announce that WHO is in discussion with a consortium of companies and institutions to establish a technology transfer hub in South Africa.

The global health agency informed that two South African companies had signed up so far and that it was in talks with Pfizer and Moderna about participating. The firms are namely Biovac- described as a manufacturer and African Biologics- described as a development company.

Tech transfer hub in South Africa:

According to WHO, the ‘tech transfer hub’ can make it possible for the African companies to begin the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines- the advanced technology now used in shots of Moderna and Pfizer- in as little as 9-12 months.

Through this initiative, WHO will also be able to change the narrative of Africa as a centre of disease and poor development.

Why the hub in South Africa is significant?

The global health agency has been calling rich nations to share vaccine technology.

 The initiative to help the African countries produce vaccines is particularly urgent at a time when cases and deaths on the continent have increased by almost 40% over the past week.

Objective of COVID-19 vaccine hub in South Africa:

The World Health Organisation has described the hub as a training facility where the technology will be established at an industrial scale and clinical development will be performed.

Interested manufacturers from low and middle-income countries will be able to receive training and any necessary licenses to the technology.

WHO in negotiations with Pfizer and Moderna:

The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization Soumya Swaminathan has informed that the health agency has been in negotiations with Pfizer and Moderna.

The firms have produced vaccines widely used in rich countries using new mRNA technology, which sends the instructions into the body to make proteins that trigger an immune response.

Swaminathan added that we can expect to see within 9-12 months COVID-19 vaccines being produced in South Africa.

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