• Shot in the arm

    Shot in the arm

    In South Africa, an early-stage trial for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate is scheduled to begin soon.

    The vaccine – DYAI-100 – will be produced under a new technology-transfer and licensing deal between the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), US biotechnology company Dyadic International and newly formed local group Rubic Consortium.

    According to Fin24, work on the phase one study will start immediately, with the trial slated to begin in October or November if approved by the local health regulator.

    Shabir Madhi, a vaccinologist at Wits, says Dyadic’s technology could also be used to develop other vaccines and treatments. ‘The bigger attraction of the platform is to be able to develop vaccines as well as monoclonal antibodies against other diseases.’

    The collaboration will enable Rubic to manufacture vaccines using Dyadic’s C1-cell protein production platform in South Africa, and to distribute doses to other African countries.

    This latest partnership in vaccine production joins the likes of ImmunityBio, which received authorisation from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to proceed with a vaccine-booster trial; Pfizer, whose vaccine will be produced by the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute; and Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine is being produced by Aspen Pharmacare at its Gqeberha plant.

    3 August 2021
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images