• Positive step

    Positive step

    A South African consortium, in collaboration with global partners, is working to establish the country’s first COVID-19 mRNA technology training hub.

    The mRNA facility will offer training to interested manufacturers from low- and middle-income countries.

    A messenger RNA vaccine differs from other types of vaccines in that it creates antibodies by teaching cells how to make proteins, which then trigger an immune response, instead of introducing a weakened or inactivated germ into the human body.

    The vaccine technology in the hub will be established at industrial scale and clinical development will be performed.

    The hub is a collaboration between the WHO and its COVAX partners, South African companies Biovac and Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The WHO will provide production expertise, quality control and the necessary licences to distribute vaccine technology. The idea for the facility follows the WHO’s global call to establish similar hubs in order to increase production and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

    29 June 2021
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images