After a two day virtual meeting the African Union (AU) has announced the launch of a partnership programme to manufacture vaccines at five new research centres. They will be built on the continent within the next 15 years as assured. Both, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which helps run the global COVAX coronavirus vaccine-sharing programme with the public-private alliance Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a memorandum of understanding to boost African vaccine research and development as well as establishing manufacturing.
According to John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the five centres will be located in the north, south, east, west and centre of Africa over the next 10-15 years.
He said on Tuesday after the meeting that “Trusted partnership will be critical in advancing the vaccine manufacturing agenda on the continent,” “The partnership with CEPI symbolises cooperation and collaboration to help respond to infectious disease threats and ensure Africa’s health security.”
Scope of the collaboration
As part of the expanded relationship, CEPI, the African Union, the Africa CDC will work to:
- Strengthen pandemic and outbreak preparedness on the continent, building on key lessons from the COVID-19 and the procurement and distribution of vaccines through COVAX and African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), established and endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August, 2020;
- Invest in vaccine R&D innovations to enable faster and easier production of vaccines in Africa;
- Invest in capacity building and training to foster the development of local expertise needed to boost vaccine R&D and manufacturing in Africa;
- Strengthen institutions that enhance enabling science need for vaccine development—for example, through investments in regional laboratory and research hubs across Africa
- Build partnerships that enable the sustainable expansion of vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
John Nkengasong wrote on Twitter, “Great session on partnership with @SongweVera @franciscollin12 @ggao___ to advance vaccines manufacturing in Africa. Thanks so much for @AfricaCDC”.
Inputs from Africa Centres for Digital Control and Prevention (CDC)