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Kagame: Africa should aim for new vaccines, therapeutics

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President Paul Kagame said that Africa should be at the forefront of vaccine manufacturing using the latest technologies in order to deal with its disease burden and respond to its healthcare demand.

Kagame said this on Thursday, June 20, during the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation, which took place in the French capital Paris.

 

He said the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic led to important collaborations between Africa and its partners in an effort to gain capabilities to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics as well as boost the continent’s pandemic preparedness, including research and development.

“The main purpose of these collaborations is not primarily to produce the vaccines that are currently in use in Africa,” Kagame said.

“That is beneficial but it does not really move the needle in terms of access and health outcomes. The more ambitious objective we should aim for is to create new vaccines and therapies that target Africa’s disease burden using the latest technology platforms.”

 

Heads of state and senior delegates pose for a group photo.
Heads of state and senior delegates pose for a group photo.

 

The President said: “Almost all new vaccine and drug discovery is taking place using these platforms, increasingly with artificial intelligence applications. These products should be invented, perfected and produced in Africa in an affordable manner, working with our global partners. This goal should call us to action.”

Hosted by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the African Union (AU) and France, the forum took place as Rwanda and other African countries are stepping up efforts to start manufacturing vaccines.

Rwanda plans to start manufacturing vaccines, thanks to a partnership with BioNTech, which led to the establishment of an mRNA plant in Kigali.

The forum in Paris also saw the launch of the African Vaccines Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA), a unique financing instrument in support of building sustainable vaccine manufacturing on the African continent.

 

Dignitaries during the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation in Paris on Thursday, June 20.
Dignitaries during the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation in Paris on Thursday, June 20.

AVMA, which will provide at least US$1 billion in support of the AU’s vision for African vaccine manufacturing, was designed by Gavi, in collaboration with the African Union, Africa CDC, as well as G7 and G20 countries.

Kagame highlighted other initiatives, which will help Africa take full advantage of the AVMA, including the African Development Bank’s African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, the African headquarters of the International Vaccine Institute and the African Medicines Agency.

“These efforts show what is possible with strong partnerships that link governments, scientists and innovative companies,” he said.

The President said Rwanda would support the AVMA and Gavi’s efforts to increase access to vaccines.

 

The New Times

“Gavi’s model has already saved millions of lives but there is more work to do. Rwanda strongly supports Gavi’s replenishment process as well as full funding of AVMA and we will do our part,” he said.

“We must also continue building our continent’s health institutions, Africa CDC and Africa Medicines Agency. That includes a responsibility for all of us in Africa to increase contributions from our domestic resources to fund public health.

“As a continent, recent global shocks have taught us many lessons. Perhaps the most important is to take on ownership of our future and our health.”

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