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One of the bitter lessons from the global Covid pandemic has been that the gulf between developed and developing nations is as wide as ever.
Vaccines have gone to the wealthy and the poor have been left in the long queue.
So, it is heartening to hear that a South African biotech consortium is working on a messenger RNA (mRNA) jab based on the Moderna formula in a ground-breaking drive to end Africa’s life-threatening lack of Covid vaccines.
Cape Town-based Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is leading a pilot project, backed by the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Covax initiative.
The goal is an mRNA vaccine that suits poorer countries in hot climates.
It would be a resilient vaccine which would not need to be kept refrigerated at ultra-low temperatures – a huge benefit in places on the continent where power supply is patchy.
If this project is successful, it will prove that Africa has the know-how and the drive to reduce reliance on the developed world for critically important products, such as medicines.
When it comes to health, the people of our continent have to take care of themselves because Covid has made it clear that no-one else cares much about us.