Botswana is the latest country to approve the use of the Corbevax coronavirus vaccine – and also plans to produce it locally by 2026.
This is according to South African-born biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made the announcement on a visit to Botswana on Monday.
His NantWorks company has partnered with the Botswana government to set up a vaccine-manufacturing plant – and he was in the southern African country to mark the start of the project.
During his trip, Dr Soon-Shiong said he had organised for Botswana to immediately get access to 100 million doses of the Corbevax vaccine currently in production elsewhere.
He said the protein-based vaccine had been declared safe, worked against every variant and 10 million doses had already been administered, mainly in India and Bangladesh.
The patent-free vaccine, developed by US researchers, is currently being produced in India and there is no requirement for Corbevax to be stored at very low temperatures.
Currently, only 1% of the vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent – and the latest figures show that only 15% of Africans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.