WHO, Partners Plan African Covid-19 Vaccine Tech Transfer Hub

The World Health Organization (WHO), together with a South African consortium and partners from COVAX, are working to set-up a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines in South Africa to help boost and scale up vaccine production in Africa. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases and teach our cells how to make a protein-or even just a piece of a protein-that triggers an immune response inside our bodies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The initiative marks "a major advance in efforts to build vaccine development and manufacturing capacity that will put Africa on a path to self-determination," said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, at the launch of the initiative in June 2021.

However, making mRNA vaccines is a complex business. There are many steps to take before safe and effective mRNA vaccines can be made in Africa. Dr Bartholomew Dicky Akanmori, Regional Adviser for Vaccine Research and Regulation with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, says.

As of September 20, 2021, a total of 8,158,676 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed across the continent of which 206,062 proved fatal and 7,449,961 resulted in recovery while 80,314,121 vaccinations have been administered.

InFocus

A colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (teal) infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (pink) (file photo).

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