SOUTH AFRICA – Biopharmaceutical company Biovac Institute has secured a €15M (US$ 16.08M) grant from the European Investment Bank and the European Union to prepare feasibility studies, finance preparatory works and commission detailed designs of the expanded vaccine production plant.

Biovac will expand its manufacturing capacity for the supply of viral and bacterial targeted vaccines to strengthen resilience and effective response to vaccine preventable diseases and future pandemics in the African region.

Moreover, the South African specialist human vaccines company will use the new investment from to boost manufacturing capacity for vaccines to allow the production of nearly 500 million vaccine doses every year and strengthen vaccine production during future pandemics.

Biovac is also expected to bag over €175 million (US$ 187.6M) in investment in coming years backed by South African and international financing partners to scale up drug and vaccine development and manufacturing and ultimately address both local and regional vaccine needs.

The vaccine production company is also in discussion with Inclusive Social Accountability (ISA) and the Western Cape Province to unlock an additional ZAR260 million (US$17.05M) which will further aid in the expansion of Biovac as a Manufacturing Company for Africa.

The Cape Town-based facility was inaugurated in 2003 through a joint venture between the South African government and private sector to establish local vaccine manufacturing capability for the provision of vaccines for national health management and security.

The funding to scale up local vaccine development and manufacturing capacity at Biovac comes at a time Africa remains highly vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases, the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as future public health emergencies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the importance of a rapid response to a pandemic and local vaccine production capabilities to ensure equitable access to vaccines and better resilience to future pandemics in Africa.

Subsequently, the new European Investment Bank and the European Union support for feasibility studies and preparatory works will maximize the impact of large-scale investment at Biovac’s pioneering Cape Town plant and enable Africa to host a world-class international vaccine manufacturing facility.

In addition, the European Investment Bank is working with partners in other African countries namely Senegal, Rwanda and Ghana to unlock large-scale investment to improve local vaccine development and production capacity to better respond to existing and future pandemics.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and has provided EUR 1.7 billon for health investment across the African continent for instance EIB has provided more than EUR 8 billion for private and public investment across the region since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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