The World Health Organization (WHO) and its COVAX allies are currently working with a South African consortium comprising Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities, Biovac, and the Africa CDC, to realize the country’s first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub by WHO and COVAX.
The announcement follows the President of France’s visit to the country publicizing his plans of helping Africa in scaling up local production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical solutions. Moreover, it also follows WHO’s global call for Expression of Interest on April 16th, 2021 to build COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hubs to ramp up the production and access to COVID vaccines.
It has been speculated that over the coming weeks, the partners would initiate negotiations with the Government of South Africa and private and public partners inside the country as well as from around the world.
Besides, with the partnership of COVAX, WHO is looking forward to continuing its assessment of potential mRNA technology donors. Additionally, it is also likely to launch subsequent calls and other technologies like proteins and viral vectors, in the coming months.
According to credible sources, the technology transfer hub would leverage benefits of the Medicines Patent Pool’s expansive experience of intellectual property management and issuance of IP licenses.
Speaking on the recent accomplishment, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa stated that the latest initiative forms a major advancement in the international effort for vaccine development and production capacity that will put Africa on a path to self-determination.
Cyril added that the country is welcoming the opportunity to vaccine technology transfer hub and to build on the expertise and capacity that already exists in the continent to contribute to the fight against coronavirus.
Meanwhile, France President, Emmanuel Macron cited that the novel initiative is apparently the first in a long list to come to the country, that France is supporting with its partners for the fight of the century. Macron further mentioned that he is proud for South African partners and Biovac to have been selected by WHO.