Nzimande hails Biovac for being appointed manufacturer of Pfizer vaccine for Africa
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Johannesburg - Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has congratulated Biovac for having been appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for distribution within the AU, making it the first company in Africa to produce an mRNA-based vaccine.
Nzimande comments came after Biovac is set to immediately commence technical transfer activities, which includes on-site development and equipment installation activities.
“As you may be aware, the DSI (Department of Science and Innovation) holds, on behalf of the government, 47.5% shareholding in Biovac. Our primary goal has always been through Biovac, to ensure that South Africa and Africa become active participants in the global vaccine manufacturing value chain,” Nzimande said.
He said the Department of Science and Innovation chose a vaccine manufacturing strategy that would first build capacity to fill and finish and then move towards manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredients and to develop from scratch, our own vaccines.
“I am pleased that in this journey, it is not the first time that Pfizer has shown confidence in our vision and commitment. We have just concluded another Tech Transfer for Prevnar 13 vaccine with Pfizer. Also, our Pre-clinical Drugs Development Platform at the University of North-West has also benefited from donation of knock-out mice a few years back. It is therefore safe to say that the relationship with Pfizer goes a long way,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande said that he is pleased that this would also add the much-needed boost to our recently announced hosting of the mRNA tech transfer hub.
“Having experienced the devastating effects of diseases’ outbreak to the economy and livelihoods, this partnership does indeed help put our feet firmly in the right direction in terms of supporting our current and future endeavours to respond to pandemics,” he said.