The World Health Organization (WHO) inaugurated this Thursday in South Africa a center to produce vaccines with messenger RNA technology (mRNA) and support the development in poor countries of the capacity to be able to manufacture these drugs.
The WHO selected the South African biotech company in 2021 African Biologics to run that project on Cape Town (Southwest), in order to provide low- and middle-income countries with the knowledge and licenses to manufacture vaccines against COVID-19.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosathen qualified as a “historic initiative” the establishment of the technology center, the first of its kind in Africa.
At the inauguration ceremony of this institute, the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusaffirmed today that the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the importance of “increasing the capacity of all regions to produce medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and therapies”, in the management of global health emergencies.
According to Tedros, the new center represents a “huge promise” not only to “increase access to vaccines against COVID-19, but also for other diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases that affect low- and middle-income countries.
The event was also attended by the South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimandewho remembered that the pandemic highlighted inequality among rich countries, who had easy access to vaccines; and the poor (especially in Africa), who suffered from the lack of that drug.
“The developing world must never have this problem again,” Nzimande stressed.
For his part, the South African Minister of Health, joe phaahlastressed that the Cape Town center, supported by the European Union (EU) and other international partners, brings a “benefit to the African continent, but also beyond the continent.”
In March 2023, more than three years after the WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern, the 69.7% of the world’s population had received at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus, according to the UN agency.
This ratio still remains below the 30% in low-income countries,” the WHO emphasized today in a statement.
(With information from EFE)
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