Therapy Areas: Vaccines
South Africa's Biovac in talks with COVAX alliance to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines
14 October 2020 -

The Biovac Institute (Biovac), a South African company joint venture between the government and private sector, is in talks with the global COVID-19 vaccine distribution scheme, COVAX, and pharmaceutical companies to produce some of the vaccines the country needs to protect itself against COVID-19, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

Chief executive of the Biovac Institute, Morena Makhoana, told Reuters that the company could produce up to 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines per year, depending on the technology involved.

Depending on whether the vaccines require a one- or two-dose regimen that could be enough for a quarter or half of South Africa's population.

When asked which vaccine candidate Biovac might partner with, Makhoana was quoted as saying: "We need to look at who is likely to get to the finishing line and who has the technological fit," adding, "Discussions are happening and we are fairly confident that ... we will be able to clinch a deal."

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the foundation that co-leads the COVAX scheme alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) and vaccines alliance GAVI, has identified Biovac as a potential drug product manufacturer but has not signed an agreement yet, a CEPI spokesman said.

The COVAX scheme aims to deliver two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021. CEPI is reserving capacity with vaccine manufacturers worldwide so that goal can be met.

Reportedly, South Africa has submitted a non-binding confirmation of intent to participate in COVAX.

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