SA has reached an agreement to manufacture its own Covid-19 vaccine, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said at the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.
< span> The minister said this means developing countries could manufacture the vaccines without the permission of the patent holders.
Patel said SA had a proposal together with India in 2020 to manufacture vaccines submitted. He said rich countries blocked these negotiations at every turn to prevent developing countries from making their own vaccines.
He said the WTO had a five-year waiver for SA allowed to manufacture their own vaccines. This can be extended “if the pandemic circumstances still require it”.
“Regardless of how the pandemic develops, we have a minimum term of five years at our disposal for this waiver. A number of developed countries would have hoped this would be for a shorter period of time. Many developed countries were urging a three-year deal, but we agreed that that period would be too short,” Patel said.
He said there were few challenges that the SA expected with the five-year waiver.
“One is what we call delivery point issues, or how we manufacture the vaccines. The second is issues with demand locations or how we can make sure someone buys the vaccines we make.
“On the supply side, intellectual property and the ingredients that go into manufacturing the vaccine were key issues. The problem is that we don’t have the active ingredient or the raw material on which to base the success of vaccine development,” said Patel.
Other challenges are financial and insufficient knowledge. how is the production?
Patel said developing countries are working to build capacity to enable them to manufacture and produce vaccines.
SA already produces the Johnson&Johnson vaccine and the waiver will allow it to begin local production of the Pfizer vaccine.
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