The head of the World Health Organisation said it is in discussions with numerous companies and institutions to create a technology transfer hub for coronavirus vaccines in South Africa. At a press briefing on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the consortium involves a company called Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, which will act as a hub both for making vaccines that use a genetic code of the spike protein, known as mRNA vaccines, and by providing training to other manufacturers to make these shots, including the company, Biovac Institute.
WHO is facilitating this effort by establishing the criteria for technology transfer, Tedros said. We are now in discussions with several companies that have indicated interest in providing their mRNA technology. The German company BioNTech, which has partnered with Pfizer to makes its COVID-19 vaccine, recently announced it would scale up efforts to establish mRNA vaccine facilities across Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the new WHO effort would change the narrative for Africa and help enhance the continent’s ability to take responsibility for the health of our people, for the health of Africans. Ramaphosa said many people in developing countries were still struggling for access to vaccines that are made in their billions in the north. He said it was just not equitable and not fair that some people were denied access to COVID-19 doses because of where they live.