African company works to replicate Moderna’s COVID vaccine without permission to combat unequal access

Cape Town, South Africa – There is a big difference in the availability of. COVID-19 Vaccines between different countries have received only one dose in 10% of people in Africa, compared to 63% in North America or 62% in Europe.

CBS News correspondent Deborah Patta has found a startup in South Africa that is expected to be remedied. That imbalance One of the US-made vaccines, through reverse engineering, to make it easier to store, and then to develop it independently.

A pair of non-script warehouses in the dusty part of Cape Town is unlikely to lead to a medical revolution. Inside the air-conditioned, sterile rooms, Patta found a group of rebels in white lab coats eager to use science to change the world.

Global vaccine inequality


Petro Terblanche, managing director of Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, told PTA that his company’s goal is to control the disease. Vaccine inequality A copy of the modern Corona virus vaccine was painfully exposed to the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Although large-scale efforts are being made to increase productivity in facilities in high-income countries, these vaccines were the first to vaccinate people in high-income countries,” he told CBS News. Told S News.

So African countries had to wait. As a result, less than 5% of people on the continent are fully vaccinated.

The epidemic was a wake-up call, said Dr. Karen Fenner, technical director of Africa, “because it made us realize that if we don’t take action and do it ourselves, no one else will.”

Vaccine distribution highlights global inequality …


After pleading with major pharma companies to share their vaccine recipes, Cape Town scientists decided there was no more time to wait, and they took over the development of a vaccine. Afrigen is working with Wits University in Johannesburg to develop a replica of Moderna’s mRNA COVID vaccine.

Despite Moderna’s stated commitment to global vaccine access, it has not given its approval to the Afrigen project.

“We can legally take this vaccine to clinical trials without violating any intellectual property,” Terblanche explained. But then they have a problem.

“Ideally we would like to have a license agreement with Moderna,” he told Patta.

The company’s goal is not only to replicate the Moderna vaccine, but also to improve it, creating a frozen dry version that does not require cold storage.

Of The World Health Organization is supporting this effort.So that Africa can reduce its dependence on foreign companies.

After months of skepticism in the medical and scientific community about whether any African organization would be able to develop an MRNA vaccine, such as Moderna or Pfizer, Treblanche said Africans were “waiting to surprise the rest of the world.” Yes: we can, and we will. ”

This is the kind of commitment – by the rebels in Labcat – that will be needed to turn the tide in the fight against the coronavirus on this battlefield.


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