Health

To fight inequality, Africa wants to produce its own vaccines. First of all, he needs to find buyers.

But no orders came.

By this time The agreement was finalized in Marchin many African countries He could not keep up the pace The number of shots from wealthier countries and from COVAX, the global vaccine agency.

Johnson & Johnson’s one-time vaccine, which many health experts hoped would make it easier to vaccinate people in hard-to-reach areas, has fallen out of favor after drug regulators in Europe and the US confirmed a link between the shots and the rare. But serious, blood-clotting side effects.

Aspen Pharmacare’s challenges highlight some of the hurdles the continent must overcome to become self-sufficient in vaccine production and avoid falling victim to vaccine disparities — again.

Africa aims to produce 1.5 billion vaccine doses by 2040 to meet 60 percent of the continent’s needs, compared to less than 1 percent it meets today. The African Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20 year plan It will cost 30 billion dollars. There are 20 initiatives to expand production, including plans by BioNTech and Moderna to build facilities in Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal.

But, “if you default on first base, it doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence going forward,” Stavros Nikolaou, senior executive of strategic business development at Aspen Pharmacare Group, told POLITICO.

To make Africa less dependent on others for vaccine production, the continent’s governments and international donors must be willing to pay a higher price for injections made in Africa, experts and pharma industry representatives said.

“If it’s an existing product that’s already made in India and China, then the prices will be stable,” said Sai Prasad, chairman of the board of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network, which includes African members.

This is because vaccines made in the two countries are produced in high volume and can cost as little as $1 per injection. African-based manufacturers won’t be able to compete with those prices, at least initially, because their production costs are higher, Prasad said.

But buyers will pay a premium for vaccines produced in Africa if they are new or not produced elsewhere, he added.

make the right choice

That’s why what to produce in Africa is so important, Prasad said.

The disparity African countries face in getting Covid-19 lies behind the push for more vaccine production in Africa. But these are not the vaccines that manufacturers on the continent should focus on Gavi’s analysisThe Vaccine Alliance, which negotiates vaccine prices for the poorest countries, many of them in Africa.

More suppliers are needed for measles, rubella, cholera and malaria vaccines and emergency supplies of yellow fever and Ebola vaccines, Gavi said. In the future, potential vaccines for diseases that affect Africa, such as dengue fever, chikungunya or Zika, could also be developed on the continent.

Gavi has been Under pressure from African leaders Buy African-made vaccines, including Covid vaccines for Africans. The World Health Organization said it would develop a plan by December on how to procure more African-made staff. Meanwhile, he warned that African countries receiving Gavi support should also opt for locally produced vaccines that “meet the criteria of quality and value for money” when they become available through Gavi.

For his part, Aspen’s Nicolau does not blame the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which his company chose for lack of demand. As for safety concerns, he said data from one of the largest studies of the vaccine in South Africa showed only a few cases of a rare blood-clotting side effect, none of which were fatal.

He said political leaders and global health agencies must revive demand for the Covid-19 vaccine, which has fallen worldwide, even though Africa remains the least vaccinated continent, with only one in over 1 billion people immunized against the disease.

Nicolau hopes that African governments and COVAX will release vaccine orders as new waves of infection fueled by the Omicron sub-variants begin to spread around the world.

Otherwise, his company will soon have to decide whether to shut down its vaccine production lines and return to producing anesthetics.

This is a lesson for broader vaccine production efforts in Africa.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be a matching of demand with different suppliers,” said Nicole Lurie, executive director of preparedness and response at the Oslo, Norway-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation. Works in research and development of vaccines against new infectious diseases.

“There has been a lot of focus on building factories, but so far there has not been much focus on market expansion,” he said. “I think the name of the game will be the new market for new vaccines and who can make those vaccines and who needs them.”

The new vaccines could be for tuberculosis and malaria, which would be in much greater demand in Africa than in rich countries, he added.

Another way to grow the market is to focus on vaccines designed not only for children but also for adults, said Thomas Kuen, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations.

Getting rich and paying for kicks

One thing is clear: to prevent vaccine production, African governments will have to be more likely to pay for the vaccines themselves, instead of relying on donor-supported organizations like Gavi.

“Donor procurement rightfully aims for the highest concentration and therefore the lowest prices so that you can reach and treat the greatest number of people with your dollars,” said Holm Keller, chairman of the KENUP Foundation, which is involved in the vaccine. Large-scale manufacturing efforts in Africa.

“In order to achieve real capital, we need to produce locally at prices that are sustainable for the local economy,” he said.

Some countries that still depend on Gavi for vaccine procurement are expected to see their national incomes rise slightly due to economic development, making them better able to pay for their own vaccines.

Senegal is one of them. It is also located in A A developing regional manufacturing center For Covid-19 vaccines and other inoculations, located at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, which produces yellow fever vaccines.

The plan is to expand yellow fever vaccine production, produce a variety of Covid-19 vaccines, including vaccines based on mRNA technology, and invest in research and development for other diseases, said Joe Fitchett, a senior adviser at the institute.

He sees the continent’s economic development and growing population as an opportunity for local vaccine manufacturers.

“Either you have existing manufacturers increasing capacity to meet the demand to protect all children, or you have room for new manufacturers to prepare for this market in 2040,” Fitchett said.

To fight inequality, Africa wants to produce its own vaccines. First of all, he needs to find buyers.

Source link To fight inequality, Africa wants to produce its own vaccines. First of all, he needs to find buyers.

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