South Africa has played a significant role globally in fighting COVID-19 through country and the world at large.
This week, with the country poised to host Africa’s first vaccine manufacturing hub, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will be visiting South Africa’s vaccine research sites.
For South Africa, this landmark development is a major advance in the international effort to build vaccine development and manufacturing capacity that will put Africa on the path to self-determination.
The two-day visit on 11 and 12 February will see Dr Tedros, accompanied by the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation, Ms Meryame Kitir, touring facilities including Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, the Biomedical Research Institute based at Stellenbosch University’s Tygerburg Medical Campus, and Biovac, among others.
The WHO announced last year that South Africa will host Africa’s first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub. The country was chosen as the host following thorough due diligence and a recommendation by the WHO’s Product Development for Vaccines Advisory Committee.
The selection was based on the country’s available infrastructure and research platforms, its scientific excellence, its experience in technology transfer, and a strong public-private partnership consortium that straddles the full vaccine research, development and manufacturing value chain and is fully supported by the South African government.
The tech transfer hub could make it possible for African companies to begin manufacturing mRNA-based vaccines – the advanced technology now used in shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – in as little as nine to 12 months.
The country’s infrastructure, benefitting hugely from investments by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), has played a huge role in the government’s response to the pandemic. Facilities focused on genomics, diagnostics, vaccine manufacturing and data analytics have shown world-class scientific capacity in the fight to contain COVID-19 in South Africa and abroad.
The international delegation will be hosted by South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, and accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela, among others.
The delegation will also visit various vaccination sites and healthcare facilities.
The media are invited as follows:
Day 1 – Friday, 11 February 2022
Tour of facility:
Venue: Afrigen Biologics (5 Kestrel Park, Longclaw Drive, Montague Gardens)
Time: 08:00 – 11:00
Tour of facility and media briefing:
Venue: Biomedical Research Institute, Tygerberg Medical Campus, Bellville (Francie Van Zijl Drive, 7493, Bellville
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Day 2 – Saturday, 12 February 2022
Venue: Biovac, 15 Alexandra Road, Pinelands (Download map)
Time: 09:00 – 12:30
Alternatively join the event virtually.
Zoom invite link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqf-CrqTgsGtcV6d5KRUY-2PntmDaIclEJ
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/EFfuzDQwQzQ