South Africa to host COVID-19 vaccine technology transfer hub for the continent

AFRICA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has picked South Africa to host the continent’s first messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology transfer hub for COVID-19 vaccines. The move comes after the WHO issued an expression of interest in April, to establish COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hubs to scale up production and access to COVID vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The WHO describes the transfer hubs as training facilities, where the technology is established at industrial scale and clinical development performed. Interested manufacturers from LMICs can receive training and any necessary licences to the…

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MasterCard foundation backs COVID-19 vaccine acquisition with US$1.3b

AFRICA – The Mastercard Foundation has announced that it will deploy US$1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent. The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and…

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European Union to spend US$1.2b in constructing vaccine factories in Africa

AFRICA – The European Union is planning to invest US$1.2 billion to facilitate construction of vaccine factories in Africa, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. The president added that this will help the continent, where vaccination against COVID-19 has barely begun in many countries, to catch up. The bloc’s head made the pledges in Rome at a health summit of the G20, the world’s major economies. “Preventing future health emergencies means strengthening capacities throughout the world. Today, Africa imports 99% of its vaccines. This has to change. Therefore,…

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Vodacom, AUDA-NEPAD to roll out digital tech for Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa

AFRICA – South African mobile telecommunication company Vodacom Group, part of Vodafone Group, will work with AUDA-NEPAD to build digital infrastructure to manage vaccinations across up to 55 countries, following successful deployments in South Africa – to manage Covid-19 vaccinations – and in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Nigeria – to manage infant inoculations. According to a statement released to the media, the roll-out of mVacciNation, developed by Mezzanine, a member of the Vodacom Group, is the first project in a public-private partnership that has been formed between Vodacom Group and AUDA-NEPAD “to…

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South Africa’s pharma regulator approves Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine

SOUTH AFRICA – The South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) has granted a conditional approval for the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, a significant step in Africa’s quest to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the Continent. The approval comes just days after the announcement by the American pharmaceutical giant that it is set to provide up to 400 million doses of its highly effective vaccine to African countries that have continued to voice their concerns over ‘vaccine nationalism’ – or the near monopoly by more resourceful countries such…

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J&J inks deal with African Vaccine Acquisition Trust for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

AFRICA – Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has entered into an agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to make available up to 220 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate to African Union’s 55 member states with delivery beginning in the third quarter of 2021. AVAT also has the potential to order an additional 180 million doses, for a combined total of up to 400 million doses through 2022. The availability of the vaccine candidate is subject to its…

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World Bank readies Covid-19 vaccine funds for 30 African countries

AFRICA – The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access Covid-19 vaccines, the global lender told Reuters, as the continent scrambles to secure doses and start immunising vulnerable groups. Only a few African governments have launched mass vaccination campaigns, whereas some countries in wealthier parts of the world have already administered millions of doses. Many rely on the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which delivered its first doses last week with a shipment to Ghana. The World Bank said financing projects were being…

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RwandAir set to be the first African airline to trial IATA Travel Pass

RWANDA – RwandAir, one of the fastest growing airlines, will become the first African airline to trial International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass to enable safe and seamless international travel. The airline will begin a three-week trial in April for customers travelling between Kigali and Nairobi, Kenya. IATA Travel Pass is a digital platform to help passengers easily and securely verify that they comply with Covid-19 test or vaccine travel requirements, in turn giving governments the confidence to reopen borders. Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the…

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Astral Aviation and Ethiopian among airlines picked for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

KENYA – Astral Aviation, Ethiopian Airlines are among the 14 airlines that have signed an agreement with UNICEF to prioritise the transport of Covid-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices, and other critical supplies to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The other airlines that are part of this initiative include Airbridge Cargo, Air France/KLM, Emirates SkyCargo, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. In January, Astral welcomed its first B767-200F from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and…

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South Africa’s renewables firm Renergen develops ultra-cold transport solution for vaccines

SOUTH AFRICA – HELIUM and natural gas company Renergen has successfully operated its first Cryo-Vacc prototype, which has been designed and patented to transport and store ultra-cold biologics for up to 25 days or longer, where access to an external power source is not possible. Companies and governments around the world are working on ways to establish cold chain storage and delivery systems for vaccines such as Pfizer and BioNTech shots which must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures and can only last at standard fridge temperatures for up…

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