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Covid-19: Africa partners with foreign developers on vaccine

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Scientists in Africa, including in Uganda, have started partnering with foreign developers of promising Covid-19 vaccine candidates, to start testing locally.

The scientists have also demanded that the prevailing perception that Africans will be used as guinea pigs in the Covid-19 vaccine trial should be reversed if Africa is to contribute to the global effort to get an effective vaccine.

The African Union chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has however, stressed the need for developing Covid-19 vaccine in Africa by African scientists.

“Through this meeting, which brings together African leaders, experts and other keys stakeholders, we should produce a roadmap that involves efforts by Africans to produce the vaccines that are effective, safe and affordable,” the South African leader said last month while addressing Africa leaders in an online conference.

Although the African scientists say they are planning to develop own vaccines, of the more than 150 Covid-19 vaccine candidates recorded across the globe, none is from Africa.

Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), on Thursday, while presenting at the World Health Organisation Africa press briefing on Covid-19 vaccine development, defended the move, saying it is one of the practical ways to ensure the vaccine is availed to Africans on time.

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