China picks Egypt to manufacture coronavirus vaccine in Africa
London, July 21, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Egypt has been selected by China to serve as a future hub for manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine in Africa once it is developed by Beijing, the Egyptian health ministry said on Monday.
Already, Egyptian health minister Hala Zayed has met with Chinese Ambassador in the country, Liao Liqiang to discuss Egypt’s participation in the testing of coronavirus vaccines in cooperation with a Chinese firm.
The meeting discussed means of cooperation between the country’s national vaccination centre, VACSERA, and a Chinese company carrying out trials to develop a vaccine to pave the way for manufacturing it in Egypt once it is proven effective, the ministry said in a statement.
The quality and capacity of production lines in Egypt will be assessed to begin manufacturing the vaccine once it is developed, it added.
A prominent Egyptian news website, Al-Ahram reports that earlier this month, Egypt said it was working on developing four coronavirus vaccines that have been registered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among a list of candidate vaccines in global pre-clinical evaluation.
The four vaccines, which have not yet been approved for human clinical trials, include DNA plasmid, inactivated-whole virus, influenza A H1N1 vector, and protein subunit vaccines.
No coronavirus vaccine has yet been developed, and many countries are conducting human trials of several existing antiviral drugs to test their efficacy.
Some of the most talked-about drugs are the Russian-approved Avifavir, the American Remdesivir and the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine from Oxford, UK
Avifavir, also known by the name Avigan, is based on the Japanese influenza drug Favipiravir which was approved for manufacturing and sale in Japan in 2014 and became a generic drug in 2019.
Remedisvir — originally developed to treat hepatitis C and was then tested against Ebola virus — is manufactured by the US Gilead Sciences Inc which helped, according to clinical trials, hospitalised coronavirus patients recover more quickly.
The Oxford vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine appears safe and triggers an immune response. Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus.
The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way.
The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Egypt has been seeing a significant drop in detected coronavirus cases, registering daily cases lower than 1,000 in the past few days.
Egypt recorded 603 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total infection tally to 87,775, including 4,302 fatalities since the outbreak of the virus in mid-February.