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South Africa Opens New Vaccine Manufacturing Plant

South Africa opened a new facility that’s expected to boost the country’s capacity to make its own vaccines for diseases including COVID-19.

The facility, located in Cape Town, was developed through a partnership between a U.S.-based biotechnology firm, the South African government and South African universities.

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“The pandemic has revealed the huge disparities that exist within and between countries in access to quality healthcare, medicines, diagnostics and vaccines,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa during an event marking the facility’s opening. “Africa is responding to COVID-19 with a “depth of scientific knowledge, expertise and capacity,” to make its own vaccines.”

The new plant has a goal of producing 1 billion vaccines annually by 2025.

In addition to producing vaccines for COVID-19, the new facility will focus on developing products to fight HIV, different types of cancer and other diseases that may not be a huge problem in other parts of the world but are major health problems in Africa.

Africa Centers for Disease Control director, John Nkengasongsays the new facility will help address public health challenges confronting the continent.

“This pandemic caught the continent off guard in terms of access to health security commodities, which are diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics,” he said. “The continent has embraced a new public health order, that speaks to the need for us to manufacture vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.”

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Written by PH

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