Botswana Approves Texas-Made COVID-19 Vaccine Corbevax

Botswana Approves Texas-Made COVID-19 Vaccine Corbevax (News Central TV)
Botswana Approves Texas-Made COVID-19 Vaccine Corbevax (News Central TV)

Botswana has become the first African country to allow the use of the COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax, which was developed in Texas.

Botswana’s president and NantWorks, a California biotech business, made the news on Monday as they broke ground on a plant to make COVID vaccinations and cancer treatments.

On Monday, Patrick Soon-Shiong, CEO of biotech business NantWorks, revealed that Botswana’s Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA) has authorised the Corbevax vaccine.

He made the announcement alongside Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi during a groundbreaking ceremony for a vaccine and cancer medicine production facility.

“I am pleased to announce, Mr. President, with the incredibly hard work of both the Ministry of Health and BOMRA, today we announce Africa’s first approved vaccine for Africa by Botswana,” Soon-Shiong said.

The US-based Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital created Corbevax, a patent-free COVID vaccine. Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia have all employed it.

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The first shipment, according to Soon-Shiong, will be shipped to Botswana for distribution across Africa.

“This vaccine has been tested and shown to be active in every variant including omicron. I got a commitment this morning that Botswana, effective immediately, will have access to 100 million of these vaccines that you can distribute,” Soon-Shiong said.

The facility, which is planned to open in 2026, will produce COVID and other illness vaccines, as well as cancer therapy medications.

According to Masisi, the plant heralds a new era for pharmaceutical manufacture on the continent.

“This is particularly noteworthy in the Africa region, which bears a disproportionate disease burden exacerbated limitation of resources and capabilities to address these health challenges. We are determined to dictate a new legacy associated with access to medicines, vaccines and other health technologies,” he said.

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Masisi said the facility would help address vaccine inequality in Africa, where less than 20% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID – two years into the pandemic.

“Disparities in the distribution of vaccines across the world resulted in a lopsided vaccination drive that seriously hampered efforts to effectively contain the COVID-19 worldwide. This problem has been aptly defined as vaccine nationalism. It is therefore our intent, our conviction that the opening of this vaccine manufacturing facility, will go a long way in changing this narrative,” Masisi said.

Botswana’s Health Minister Edwin Dikoloti says the project would also help treat chronic diseases.

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“This day marks a new level in our scientific development and advancement. It signifies a new technological breakthrough which will see us as not just a consumer but also a manufacturer of vaccines and other medication that will come out of this magnificent project,” Dikoloti said.

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