Innovation Council Member Q&A: The African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative (AVMI)
IC Member Afya Rekod to Simplify Access to Medical Records Through Strategic Collaboration
GE Healthcare and Kenya-based start-up and IC member, Afya Rekod, have announced a strategic collaboration that seeks to transform care delivery through improved access to personal health data and medical records in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The partnership will give patients access to their health history and personal records, including radiological images, by enabling hospitals and diagnostic centers to host health records securely on one platform through a digital application.
Click here for more information.
New ECA Publication to Spotlight Breakthroughs of African Female Scientists
A new publication ‘Earth, Oceans and Skies: Insights from selected, outstanding African women scientists’ by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will spotlight African female scientists whose contributions seek to address some of the most critical challenges of the UN’s Decade of Action leading up to the year 2030.
From exploring the depths of the ocean to studying the vastness of space, the publication features dozens of autobiographies of selected scientists including female doctors, engineers and scientists from Africa whose research and discoveries are helping to tackle complex global challenges.
Click here to read more.
Center for Global Development series on the EU-Africa Summit
On February 17th, the long-awaited summit between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), delayed since 2020, finally began. But in the time since the first event was scheduled, the world was ravaged by a pandemic that is estimated to have stalled a decade of continuous growth and human capital improvement on the African continent.
The Center for Global Development prepared an excellent series on the EU-Africa Summit consisting of mini reports by CGD experts about the various joint priorities set out by the AU and the EU. The series offers compelling analysis and commentary on the actions needed in order for a meaningful reconstruction of the relationship between the two continents to materialize.
Find the series here.
BioNTech to supply modular vaccine plants to African countries
The German company BioNTech announced on February 16th its plans to supply modular plants to make mRNA vaccines to Rwanda, Senegal and, potentially, South Africa. This announcement came ahead of a Europe-Africa summit at which increasing vaccine production in Africa is expected to be a vital topic of discussion. Not only would BioNTech be responsible for the delivery and installation of the modules, but the company said it was prepared to transfer know-how to local partners to enable them to operate independently.
While it had been previously stated that voluntary technology transfers had so far been limited during the pandemic, this was contradicted by research published end-2021, which can be found in an online report.
South African Company nears License to sell J. & J. Covid Shot across Africa
The South African drug maker Aspen Pharmacare announced on Tuesday that it was finalizing the first agreement to control production of a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa. The deal, with Johnson & Johnson, would allow Aspen to bottle and market the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across Africa under the brand name Aspenovax.
Aspen would then have the right to determine to whom the vaccine will be sold, in what quantities and at what price. This agreement stops short of giving Aspen rights to produce the drug substance — that is, the actual contents of the vaccine. Instead, Johnson & Johnson will direct other facilities to make the ingredients to send to Aspen for the company to blend into vaccine doses.
Route to Market Guide for Innovators
The Route to Market (R2M) series is being developed by the Department of Research Contracts & Innovation (RC&I) at the University of Cape Town using funding from the Department of Science and Technology’s National Intellectual Property Office (NIPMO). Each booklet focuses on a specific sector/product type and highlights the key steps and considerations in bringing such a product to market in that sector – with an emphasis on the local South African context.
The hope is that this guide on Medical Devices and other booklets, such as this guide on Pharmaceutical Products will be useful to both Researchers and Innovators, as well as Technology Transfer professionals working at institutional Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs).
The books have been released under a Creative Commons license to enable other institutions to customise them for their own use.
The Africa Agri-Tech Development Forum: Financing the Future of Off-Farm Innovation in Africa
Over the course of four online events, Innovation Council member Bobab, brings together diverse groups of experts from business, academia and policy from Africa, the UK and beyond. In this third event of the Forum Boabab will be asking tough questions around exactly how an enabling environment can be created for private sector investment; one that facilitates and directs capital to the areas of the agricultural value chain that can have the greatest impact, for both short-term recovery and long-term transformation.
Africa needs vaccines. What would it take to make them here?
The authors of this article show that, by their estimates, the public market for vaccines in Africa could rise from $1.3 billion today to between $2.3 billion and $5.4 billion by 2030 (depending on the scenario). While Africa’s population is growing faster than that of most other regions, significant immunization coverage gaps remain, and new products (such as vaccines for Lassa fever or malaria) could be introduced and used widely on the continent. Leaders are increasingly aware of the importance of health security, both for its own sake and as a critical tool for securing the continent’s development, and are increasingly heeding calls for investments into vaccine manufacturing to prevent African countries from being last in line for vital supplies.