Sat, 31 Jul 2021

PARIS, France: The World Health Organization will establish a hub in South Africa where scientists from low- and middle-income countries can be taught to manufacture Covid vaccinations.

In mid-April, after warning about the inability of poor nations to obtain the Covid vaccination, the WHO inquired as to the interest in establishing a transfer hub for vaccine technology.

"Today, I am delighted to announce that WHO is in discussions with a consortium of companies and institutions to establish a technology transfer hub in South Africa," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Monday.

Ghebreyesus said the WHO will lead the program by supervising the technology transfer, processing applications, developing standards and providing support and training.

Since reaching out in April, the WHO said they have reviewed more than 50 proposals received from those wanting to participate in the training hubs -- half from companies and institutions wanting the vaccine technology and half from those wishing to share their knowledge.

"We could see within nine to 12 months vaccines being produced in Africa," said Soumya Swaminathan, WHO's lead scientist.

According to Oxford University's Our World in Data project, some 22 percent of the world has received at least one Covid inoculation, while only 0.9% of residents in low-income nations have received even one shot.

"We from Africa have been calling for the capability, the capacity that needs to be transferred to Africa, so that we can also make our own vaccines. It's been shown now that we cannot rely on vaccines that are made outside of Africa because they never come, they never arrive on time and people continue to die," said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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