As the world searches for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, South Africa is to be among the places where a serum will be produced under a deal announced by the president on Wednesday.
US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has entered a preliminary agreement with Aspen Pharmacare, a South African company, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation in a televised address.
“Aspen has capacity to manufacture 300 million doses of the candidate vaccine at its Nelson Mandela Bay plant. This is life-saving medical product that will be needed across the world, which will be manufactured by South African workers,” Ramaphosa said.
This is in addition to the progress made by Biovac, a local biopharmaceutical company that is in partnership with the South African government, he said.
South Africa is collaborating with several multinational pharmaceutical companies and is contributing towards the availability of the vaccine in the rest of the continent.
Ramaphosa said South Africa was working through the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to acquire and fund a vaccine for the African continent.
It is estimated that Africa will need around 12 billion dollars and 750 million doses of an effective vaccine.
Ramaphosa also said he would reopen the country to international tourism and lift all restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
Case numbers are high, however in the Eastern Cape Province, where a state of emergency was extended until December 15.
So far, South Africa has recorded 742,394 cases and some 20,011 deaths.