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Coronavirus

Africa CDC Wants Local Vaccine Manufacturing

JOHANNESBURG — As the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic crashes across Africa, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the intellectual property from any effective vaccine should be made available for local manufacturing and swifter distribution.

John Nkengasong also told reporters that Africa’s 1.3 billion people have “all kinds of differences in genetic makeup, so we want to be sure that we are participating fully” in vaccine trials.

Africa has had more than 644,000 confirmed virus cases, nearly half in South Africa alone.

Concerns are widespread that any successful vaccine will be snapped up by richer countries and that Africa will be last in line, an echo of the time when it took years for affordable HIV drugs to become available.

The Africa CDC chief said the continent has more than 80 potential clinical trial sites with the ability to enroll participants and monitor them carefully. He also warned that “we are in for a long, long journey” in this pandemic.

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