The World Health Organization will set up a center in South Africa to train scientists in low- and middle-income countries to create a Covid vaccine.
After the WHO warned in mid-April that Covid vaccination was not possible for poor countries, it called for interest in establishing a vaccine technology transfer center.
“I am pleased to announce today that WHO is in talks with a consortium of companies and institutions to establish a technology transfer center in South Africa,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus said Monday.
Ghebreyesus said WHO would lead the program by overseeing technology transfer, application processing, standards development, and providing support and training.
Since arriving in April, the WHO said it had considered more than 50 suggestions from people wishing to attend the training center – half from companies and institutions wanting vaccine technology and half from those wanting to share knowledge.
“We could see a vaccine being made in Africa in nine to twelve months,” said Sumia Suminanathan, WHO’s leading scientist.
According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data project, around 22 percent of the world has received at least one Covid vaccination, while only 0.9 percent of low-income people have even received one.
“We in Africa demand the capability, the capacity that needs to be transferred to Africa so that we can produce our own vaccines so that they arrive on time and people continue to die,” said South African President Kiril Ramaphosa.