Log in
Show password
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 
News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

Africa needs to make own vaccines but hurdles are high, experts say

12/07/2021 | 09:11am EST
FILE PHOTO: A man receives a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile vaccination center in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

KIGALI (Reuters) - Africa needs to make its own vaccines to avoid a repeat of its supply problems in the COVID-19 pandemic but faces big obstacles in turning itself from a pharmaceutical testing ground into a place where vaccines are created, experts said on Tuesday.

The Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) has set as a target that 60% of the continent's routine vaccine needs, or between 1.4 and 1.7 billion doses yearly, should be met by local manufacturing by 2040, up from about 1% now.

Experts meeting at a PAVM conference in Rwanda said the pandemic had shown Africa urgently needed to tackle its dependence on imported vaccines. But they outlined daunting obstacles, from brain drain to power shortages.

Martin Friede, coordinator of the World Health Organisation Initiative for Vaccine Research, said Africa had produced many scientific researchers but not a workforce capable of designing and making vaccines.

He urged the continent's political and scientific leaders to focus on changing that skillset, drawing a contrast with Africa's customary role in pharmaceuticals.

"Right now Africa is a test tube for many pharmaceutical companies. This is where we bring products to test them," he said.

Charles Gore, head of the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool which seeks to boost drugmaking in developing countries, said seeking licences from pharmaceutical firms elsewhere was not a sustainable solution for Africa as it had few incentives to offer those firms.

"Simply having the development done in the developed world and always transferring it is not an answer to this," he said.


Gore also cautioned against launching too many separate initiatives across the continent that would risk yielding only "white elephants", instead urging governments, companies and research hubs to collaborate to create complementary capacities.

Speakers from large drugmakers and from bodies that provide funding stressed the high costs of research, development and production, urging African countries to pool demand in order to incentivise investors with scale and long-term visibility.

"The higher volumes and consistent long-term contracting are critical to make this work," said Patrick van der Loo, Pfizer's regional president for Africa and the Middle East.

He cited water shortages in South Africa that affected its local partner the Biovac Institute, which has a "fill and finish" deal https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/south-africas-biovac-start-making-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-early-2022-2021-12-06 to make the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine, as an example of Africa's crippling infrastructure problems.

He mentioned a lack of regulatory capacity as an obstacle, saying only two national regulators in Africa had achieved WHO maturity level three, a prerequisite to vetting local vaccines.

The PAVM, which is backed by the African Union and brings together experts from across the continent, is working on a wide-ranging strategy to address the various challenges.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana, writing by Estelle Shirbon, Editing by William Maclean)

By Clement Uwiringiyimana

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BIONTECH SE 4.97% 162.22 Delayed Quote.-37.08%
DOW JONES AFRICA TITANS 50 INDEX -0.19% 530.61 Delayed Quote.-1.01%
DOW JONES SOUTH AFRICA(ZAR) 0.23% 1993.82 Delayed Quote.1.20%
PFIZER, INC. 1.80% 54.33 Delayed Quote.-7.99%
S&P AFRICA 40 INDEX -0.37% 172.73 Delayed Quote.0.13%
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
05:29aItaly rejects extradition of Venezuela's ex-oil minister, says lawyer
05:14aAustrian chancellor says country to begin easing covid-19 measur…
05:14aAustria to begin easing coronavirus restrictions on Feb. 5
04:59aFrance won't stay in Mali if price is too high -defence minister
04:52aNew Zealand PM Ardern is self isolating after exposure to COVID positive case
04:35aPoland's Duda recommends Glapinski for second term as central bank governor -PAP
04:30aItalian parties in disarray as presidential vote limps on
04:29aItalian parties in disarray as presidential vote limps on
04:25aCambodia to host summit of ASEAN foreign ministers from Feb 16
04:23aCambodia to host summit of ASEAN foreign ministers from Feb 16
Latest news "Economy & Forex"