Fighting the pandemic Minister Müller and Institut Pasteur fire starter pistol for the establishment of COVID-19 vaccine production capacity in Africa
Minister Müller stated: “The threat posed by COVID-19 in Africa is growing. The rate of new infections is currently rising by 20 per cent a week. The Delta variant has reached 14 African countries. But throughout the continent, a mere 35 million people have received their first dose of vaccine so far. We need a vaccine campaign in Africa in order to immunise 30 per cent of the people by the end of this year. To that end, we need a tenfold increase in current efforts.
”The virus will not be gone in a few months' time. We urgently need vaccines that are made in Africa. I am convinced that Africa needs to produce its own vaccines in order to counter the threat.
“The Institut Pasteur in Senegal has presented a compelling strategy for starting licensed COVID-19 vaccine production in Africa. The institute is renowned around the world and already produces vaccines against yellow fever and tests for COVID-19.
”Now there is a realistic chance for the first time for the institute to set up its own production structures. The strategy envisages the bottling of vaccines from April 2022, and the parallel construction of a production plant for COVID-19 vaccines. That would have a kick-start effect in the fight against the pandemic in Africa. I believe in the institute and in the strategy. We should pool all efforts so as to quickly bring African vaccine production to fruition through an international consortium with the participation of further EU countries. Germany is leading the way, providing initial funding of 20 million euros, for which I made a commitment to the Minister of the Economy, Amadou Hott.“
The Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) in Senegal is one of the few institutions in Africa that already produce a WHO-certified vaccine.
On behalf of the President of Senegal, the IPD has developed a strategy for building production capacity for a COVID-19 vaccine. Germany is already engaged in close cooperation with the IPD. Since last year, Germany has been supporting the development and production of rapid COVID-19 tests, which the IPD will soon begin to market together with Diatropix, a social enterprise. The rapid tests are currently undergoing the approval process. Once the approval has been granted, one million antigen tests that have already been produced and another 660,000 antibody tests could enter the market, at a price of one euro apiece.