WHO grants mRNA vaccine technology to African countries to support …fight against COVID-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s approval to grant six African countries the technology to manufacture mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines is expected to boost international efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, Egyptian experts and officials said.

Last Friday, WHO announced that Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia will be part of a project that aims to enable low-and middle-income countries to manufacture mRNA vaccines in line with international standards.

The project also intends to reduce Africa’s reliance on vaccine manufacturers outside the continent. 

Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO’s representative in Egypt, stressed the significance of the decision, saying that the transfer of vaccine manufacturing technology would boost international efforts to confront the pandemic. 

“Africa has received vaccines less than any other continent,” al- Al Gasseer told Xinhua, affirming that the WHO’s approval is meant to achieve health security for the international community. 

She noted that the countries that have been granted the right to manufacture the vaccine already possess the required personnel competence, technological capabilities, and large financial investments, as well as the great political will to make this procedure a success. 

“There is an opportunity to strengthen partnerships to transfer vaccine manufacturing technology, whether between the developed countries and the six countries, or among the six countries themselves,” she said, stressing that the WHO will play a fundamental role in supporting the pharmaceutical industries in Africa and the economic growth in these countries.

The United Nations (UN) official praised China’s cooperation since the beginning of the pandemic with various countries, especially the developing ones, and its initiative to cooperate with Egypt and a number of other developing countries in the production of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.

For his part, Dr Islam Anan, an Egyptian professor of health economics, epidemiology and virology, said that the WHO’s decision was an “important step” that will contribute significantly to containing the pandemic. 

Dr Anan added that the two continents most affected by the lack of vaccines were Africa and South America, stressing that Africa is  the main gateway to prevent virus mutations.

In this regard, he valued the WHO plans to assist African countries through transferring medical technology to manufacture vaccines locally, instead of “begging rich or vaccine-manufacturing countries to support poor ones.”  -Xinhua

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