The weekend chronicle Production of the vaccine against Covid-19: Africa the plant of the world?

Every weekend, Daouda Mbaye, a journalist, revisits one of the important news of the week. Today’s topic, the race over a vaccine against Covid-19. An opportunity for Africa if…


By Daouda Mbaye


Daouda MBaye-DR


While recovery policies are set up everywhere in the world, Africa doesn’t want to be left behind. The optimism is due to the last discoveries on vaccines against the Covid-19. After Pfizer-Biontech (US and German), Moderna Pharmaceuticals (US), Sinopharm (Chinese), and even Oxford Astra Zeneca (British and Swedish), Sanofi-GSK came out with their own vaccine… The good news is finally arriving.


A global issue


Today, after the conclusion of third phase clinic trials, a crazy race to the production of hundreds of millions and even billions of vaccines is launched. The issue is global. India will produce 100 million doses of the Russian vaccine Spoutnik-V, and some African countries are positioning themselves as suppliers.


Africa can seize this opportunity to cure the world. For example, doctor Onyema Ogbuagu, born in Nigeria, was one of the Pfizer vaccine’s leading scientists. The US mission in Nigeria highlighted this particular point in a tweet: ” Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu at Yale, who helped develop a Covid-19 vaccine!”


Tanger Tech City


In Morocco, Khalid Aït Taleb, Minister of Health, announced his country would be one of the vaccine producers thanks to the vaccine plant in the technological city Mohammed VI in Tanger. Indeed, the government wants to supply its population, its Magrheban neighbors, and Sub-Saharan Africa with vaccines by the end of April 2021. A tendency part of the Sothema laboratory plan. As a reminder, Lamia Tazi, CEO of Sothema, was present when the China-Morocco agreement was signed. The Moroccan pharmaceutical industry claims to be the only one capable of producing pre-filled syringes with the vaccine ready to be used, so, adapted to the African context.


Who is next?


Now, the question remains who can do what depending on storage characteristics, efficiency, and costs. The vaccine of Astra-Zeneca is efficient at 70% but just needs to be in a fridge and worth 4 dollars, while the one of Pfizer, 95% efficient for 33 dollars, needs a storage unit really specific. Moderna, 20 dollars 94,5% efficient, Spoutnik-V 92% efficient… Giants of Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, or Tunisia will manifest themselves soon enough. Decisions took on the last G20 and the Covax initiative, pillar of the ACT-Accelerator partnership with GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and WHO, seems to define a new model of collaboration preparing coming pandemics. It is important to note GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance), which promotes new ways to fund and democratize vaccines, is supported by the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Some people defend the “One World Protected”…


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