According to the WHO officials, the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine produced at the World Health Organization-backed vaccine hub in South Africa could take three years to get approved if the companies did not share their technology system and data.
The WHO-backed tech transfer hub in South Africa was established in June to give the poorer nations knowledge of producing COVID-19 vaccines. Aftermarket leaders of the mRNA COVID vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna, denied a WHO request to share their technology and expertise.
As per ‘Martin Friede’, the coordinator of the WHO Initiatives for Vaccine Research, if organisations authorised the COVID-19 vaccines or late-stage clinical data shared their technology and data with the consortium, the vaccines produced in South Africa could be approved in 1 year to 1.5 years.
Furthermore, it could be one year if there was a partnership with an organisation that already has an approved vaccine. Else, it is more like 24 – 36 months, depending on the approval process.
On 3 February, South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics, which was part of WHO’s consortium, told that it had used the publicly available sequence of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine to make their version of the shot.
However, WHO has been trying to convince Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech to make a joint force with its African tech transfer hub.
As per Friede, they first send the vaccines for the clinical trials during the fourth quarter of this year.
“Now have the challenge of keeping to scale this up. And this is, obviously, where we are going to run into some challenges.”