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Pfizer joins BioNTech stop effort to produce Covid-19 vaccine in Africa

Pfizer Co., Ltd.

And its partners

BioNTech SE

Their Covid-19 vaccine will be partially produced in South Africa starting next year and will join a halt effort to produce shots on the continent left behind in the global battle with the pandemic, he said Wednesday.

The Capetown-based Biovac Institute’s contract to fill vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and prepare for shipment will do more for pharmaceutical companies to address global inequality in accessing Covid. It follows the growing pressure from the United States, Europe, and international organizations to do so. -19 shots. They said Biovac will provide more than 100 million doses annually when the plant is fully operational next year.

This spring, the United States said it would support a South African and Indian-led proposal to suspend protection. Intellectual property underlying the Covid-19 vaccine Expand production, especially in developing countries. This initiative is strongly opposed by most major pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer.

Only 1.5% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 after developed countries purchased many of the shots and deliveries from this year’s World Health Organization-sponsored Covax program. Developing countries relied on It was far behind schedule to inoculate the most endangered citizens.It is driven by a more transmissible delta variant, leaving many of the continents with little protection. Record surge in infection..

African officials say one of the main reasons they struggled to secure Covid-19 shots was the lack of manufacturing facilities on the continent. Many governments, including the United States and India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, are restricting the export of shots because they are competing to inoculate their population.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, wearing a black mask, visited the government in March and visited Aspen Pharmacare, where he collaborated with Johnson & Johnson to make shots.


Photo:

/ Associated Press

“The only way to solve this is to allow Africa to produce,” said Strive Masyiwa, a Zimbabwean telecommunications tycoon who heads the African Union’s Vaccine Purchasing Task Team. “Production is not permitted.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech-Biovac deal is a public-private partnership between the South African government and a consortium of local pharmaceutical companies that only partially addresses the demands of African authorities for better control of the vaccine supply chain. I have not.

The two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech Shot drug substance, one of the world’s most widely used Covid-19 vaccines, will be exported from Europe to South Africa, the two companies said.

The two companies said in a statement that the doses produced by Biovac at the Cape Town plant would go to the African Union countries. Pfizer spokesmen said the doses are likely to be distributed through existing supply agreements with the African government or the company’s own deal with Covax, or delivered to 500 million Pfizer / BioNTech doses. US will donate to Covax..

WHO and other public health organizations are promoting the introduction of new mRNA technology underlying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Africa. They say they could eventually be used to combat other diseases such as HIV / AIDS, malaria, and Ebola that are prevalent in Africa. Manufacturing experts also say that it is much easier to make mRNA shots than to make traditional vaccines that require the handling of live pathogens.

Patients with Covid-19 are treated at a temporary facility in Uganda, which belongs to the African Union. Member states are lined up to receive Biovac shots.


Photo:

Luke Dray / Getty Images

WHO launched a new initiative last month to support the transfer of mRNA technology to Biovac.This is the world’s first initiative of its kind, with Pfizer, BioNTech, and

Modana Co., Ltd.

The Covid-19 vaccine also uses mRNA.

However, Pfizer said the deal with Biovac was exclusively between the three companies and was not part of a government-led technology transfer or enforcement contract.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla will speak at the World Trade Organization late Wednesday. There, in opposition from the European Union, discussions on patent waivers proceed slowly, potentially missing a voluntary six-week deadline that expires at the end. Of this month.

The announcement of Pfizer-BioNTech follows a similar deal signed at the end of last year based in South Africa.

Aspen Pharmacares Co., Ltd.

And

Johnson & Johnson

Fill the vial and Package 300 million times Of J & J’s Covid-19 shots.

Aspen also does not have a license to manufacture the drug substance used in J & J Shot. This is the setting that caused the South African government to delay the delivery of the shots ordered. In June, Aspen had to abandon about two million potentially contaminated vaccinations. Baltimore-based factory Manufactured J & J API.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said this month that there were negotiations to produce J & J drug substance “in time” locally, without giving details. Aspen’s CEO said the company was in early discussions on expanding vaccine production. “Each manufacturing partnership, including Aspen, includes licensing our technology and sharing manufacturing know-how that enables safe, high-quality production of vaccines on a global scale,” said J & J. I will.

A Pfizer spokesman did not mention whether there are plans to expand the partnership with Biovac and eventually produce APIs in South Africa as well. The company is focusing on efforts to maximize its supply chain and will continue to look for opportunities. However, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement Wednesday that there may be more announcements in the future.

“We believe our mRNA technology can be used to develop vaccine candidates that address other diseases,” says Dr. Sahin. “That’s why we continue to appreciate sustainable approaches that support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent.”

Write to Alexandra Wechsler alexandra.wexler@wsj.com And Jared S. Hopkins jared.hopkins@wsj.com

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Pfizer joins BioNTech stop effort to produce Covid-19 vaccine in Africa

Source link Pfizer joins BioNTech stop effort to produce Covid-19 vaccine in Africa

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