Africa’s top public health official says the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been in talks with nine vaccine manufacturers about potential coronavirus vaccine clinical trials on the continent.
John Nkengasong says the talks include the Oxford University group that’s developing a vaccine with drug company AstraZeneca and already has a clinical trial in South Africa.
The African Union’s 54 member states want to secure more than 10 late-stage COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in Africa. They’re motivated by memories of watching millions die while years passed before affordable drugs or vaccines for diseases reached the continent of 1.3 billion people.
Health experts say COVID-19 vaccine trials must include Africans to make sure any effective vaccine can be rolled out quickly in Africa along with the rest of the world.
Nkengasong warns that a vaccine will not be a “magic bullet,” saying the world has never been able to vaccinate even 500 million people in a single year. Africa has more than 1.3 million confirmed virus cases, including more than 33,000 deaths, and new cases have slowed in recent weeks.