Amid emerging waves of Coronavirus across Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and the South African-born U.S. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong cut the inauguration ribbon at a new vaccine manufacturing plant in Cape Town. It is expected that the plant would start manufacturing one billion Covid-19 vaccines annually by 2025, Soon-Shiong said. Besides the coronavirus vaccine, the facility will also produce cancer medicines and other pharmaceutical medications.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, 69, a transplant surgeon by profession has a wealth of &7.5 billion and is among the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans. He left South Africa after completing his internship in the region. Now, the billionaire is known for inventing the cancer treatment drug Abraxane.
He emphasized the role of vaccines in controlling the spread of coronavirus and urged everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the people from the Covid-19 vaccines. However, he also said that vaccines are not the ultimate answer to control Covid-19. The pandemic needs more efforts by the general public to control its spread.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has been campaigning for vaccine manufacturers to drop the patent rights so that even the poorest of countries can produce vaccines and make them available for their people.
President Ramaphosa and Soon-Shiong had earlier launched AAAH Coalition (Coalition to Accelerate Africa’s Access to Advanced Healthcare) which is aimed at fastening the domestic manufacturing of vaccines and pharmaceuticals so that it can reach patients across the African continent.