World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, has described the development and approval of several COVID-19 vaccines amid the pandemic as ‘an extraordinary scientific triumph’.
He was addressing the media in South Africa following his visit to the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Cape Town. Tedros has hailed the positive impact that vaccines have had globally.
“There can be no doubt that vaccines have saved countless lives, are helping to turn the tide on the pandemic, that’s why we’re meeting in person after a long jail, and are now giving many countries the confidence to relax restrictions. But as you know this scientific triumph has been marred by vast inequities in access.”
WHO commends Africa for handling the COVID-19 pandemic
Ghebreyesus says clinical trials to test the vaccine manufactured in South Africa for COVID-19 will start in the first quarter of this year. South Africa has been chosen as the first African country to host Africa’s vaccine manufacturing hub.
Tedros and his delegation are on a two-day visit to the country to inspect the vaccine research sites. They include Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines as well as the Biomedical Research Institute based at Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg Medical Campus.
“We expect clinical trials to start in the first quarter of this year with approval expected in 2024.”
Ghebreyesus adds: “I congratulate the region on this achievement and that we are looking forward to supporting you as you take this vaccine clinical campaign into clinical trials and beyond.”
WHO’s Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus briefs media following his visit to SA’s vaccination sites:
Additional reporting by Abongwe Kobokana.