Afrigen Biologics & Belgian Biotechnology company signs a bond

Africa: A new agreement between Cape Town based Afrigen Biologics and Belgian Biotechnology company, Univercells Group, paves the way for the development of the first African-owned Covid-19 vaccine.

The agreement comes a year after the WHO announced the establishment of the first Covid mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub, a consortium of which Afrigen forms a part of. The partners now aim to build on the expertise developed through the hub.

Afrigen and Univercells will tackle the two major challenges that have hampered the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines in Africa and other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): lack of cost-effective production and the need for cold- or super-cold chains. The agreement will enable the companies to develop vaccines that are cheaper to produce and easier to store and distribute in rural and remote areas.

The collaboration also seeks to develop a new model for the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines, which will include the entire value chain from ingredients to production at a large scale.

The technology is designed to be easily transferable to other LMICs, and possible to apply in the development of vaccines for the African continent in the future.

This agreement is a significant step towards realizing Africa’s ambitions to reduce reliance on imports and ensure that everyone has access to life-saving vaccines and medicines.

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