SOUTH AFRICA – The Mayoral Committee has approved the transfer of City land in Ndabeni and Maitland to the Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa (Biovac), a step forward for the research and manufacturing of vaccines in Africa.
The site will see the expansion of the Cape Health Technology Park, which will comprise offices, research laboratories and manufacturing plants of a medical nature.
The park comprises of offices, research laboratories and manufacturing plants of a medical nature.
“By improving the health of a nation’s citizens, it can directly result in economic growth, because there will be more people able to contribute effectively to the workforce,” the City’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, Alderman James Vos said.
“Furthermore, it demonstrates our aspiration to utilise property as a means to unlock economic prosperity in Cape Town.”
Vos said the health tech park was discussed and planned long before the onset of Covid-19.
However, the advent of the pandemic highlighted the dire need for the investment and expansion of local production to make vaccines available to local and regional markets at greater speed and at a more cost-effective scale.
Biovac is a bio-pharmaceutical company based in Cape Town that is a joint venture between a private consortium and the national government, with the latter holding a minority stake in the company. The main objective of Biovac is to establish local vaccine manufacturing capability.
In September last year, the company announced that it had produced the first batch of Pfizer Covid shots made on the continent.
In November, it entered into a licensing and technology transfer agreement with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), a non-profit international organisation headquartered in South Korea, for the manufacture of an oral cholera vaccine.
“With less than 1% of the world’s vaccine supply made in Africa – where infectious diseases are the leading cause of death, especially in children younger than five years old – the expanded footprint of a facility that develops such vital medical products will be a game-changer,” Vos said.
“The park will further cement Cape Town’s reputation as a world-leading hub of health technology, education, and research.
“Additionally, the economic impact of the proposed health tech park, could contribute up to R1,5bn to the economy during its construction phase, and create more than 6,000 jobs, research by Wesgro shows.”
Following the Mayco approval, the report goes to Council for final adoption at which point the transfers will be implemented.