BioNTech and Pfizer have announced that they reached a deal with Biovac to produce Covid-19 for the African Union (AU) countries beginning in 2022. Biovac is a bio-pharmaceutical company that was established with the South African government as a partnership for local vaccine manufacturing capability. Under this agreement, 100 million doses are expected to be produced annually for the AU countries.
In an MoneyWeb’s interview with the CEO of Biovac, Dr Morena Makhoana states that this is a historical moment for Africa as this is the first mRNA technology transfer on the continent. Pfizer has committed about 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the Biovac-Pfizer agreement.
Biovac CEO states, “The deal is to “fill and finish” the vaccine, the final stages of manufacturing where the product is processed and put into vials. It does not cover the complicated processes of mRNA drug substance production, which Pfizer and BioNTech will do at their own facilities in Europe”.
Pfizer released a press release in which the full statement of the Biovac and Pfizer-Biotech deal was extensively discussed. In the technicality of the manufacturing of the vaccine in Africa, Pfizer writes, “Biovac will perform manufacturing and distribution activities within Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s global COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and manufacturing network, which will now span three continents and include more than 20 manufacturing facilities. To facilitate Biovac’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.”
We can expect the Biovac’s integration into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021, while the manufacturing of finished doses is scheduled to star in 2022. Once full operation capacity is reached, the annual production is set to exceed 100 million finished doses distributed within the 55 states of the AU.
Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla wrote, “Our latest collaboration with Biovac is a shining example of the tireless work being done, in this instance to benefit Africa. We will continue to explore and pursue opportunities to bring new partners into our supply chain network, including in Latin America, to further accelerate access of COVID-19 vaccines.”
This is good news for the continent of Africa. Currently experiencing the third-wave and a hampered rollout out, things are looking up as Senegal joins likes of Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa in the list of African countries that have successfully secured the rights to produce the jabs.
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