South Africa: Covid-19 Vaccine Could Be Made in SA


Multinational firm Johnson & Johnson has selected Aspen Pharmacare as one of the companies to manufacture its Covid-19 vaccine, once it has the go-ahead for commercial production.

Aspen and a subsidiary of global brand Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, have signed a provisional agreement that will see Aspen Pharmacare manufacturing J&J's Covid-19 vaccine candidate at its plant in Port Elizabeth.

The vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2-S, is currently in stage 3 of clinical trials and is one of the leading trials underway at present, with 60,000 adults in eight countries including South Africa and the US.

Other big trials underway include AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial, which is being conducted in the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil and South Africa.

In addition, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are well advanced in their vaccine trials and hope to know whether the vaccine works by the end of November.

In the case of J&J and AstraZeneca, indications of vaccine efficacy are expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Whether or not the trial is a success, the agreement with Aspen is still subject to the successful completion of the relevant technology transfer activities and finalisation of certain commercial manufacturing terms.

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