A plan to manufacture an anti-Covid-19 vaccine has received cabinet approval, Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed announced recently.
About 80 million doses of Sinovac a year will be produced locally by a Chinese-Egyptian partnership.
The Egyptian side, VACSERA, in collaboration with two other local firms, has two production lines to produce 20 million and 60 million doses of the vaccine annually.
Manufacturing the vaccine here would mean Egypt can supply other African nations with Sinovac, as part of Egypt’s bid to help fellow African states acquire herd immunity, Zayed said, raising hopes for the availability of enough doses for a wider and speedier public immunization process against coronavirus.
The minister’s announcement came as Egypt is bracing itself for a third wave of the pandemic as daily infections and deaths are rising steadily.
Infected cases have already exceeded 800 for the first time in many weeks, up from 500.
Fatalities are also on the rise, which means that the public must apply preventive measures more strictly.
Meanwhile, Egypt is qualified to become a vaccine-making hub.
“This is especially true as Egypt has a large number of factories to make vaccines,” says leading gastroenterologist Mohamed Ezz el-Arab.
“These factories have whatever is needed for the manufacturing of enough amounts of vaccines,” Ezz el-Arab told a local newspaper.
Poor countries are complaining that richer nations are taking vaccine stocks for themselves, leaving the poor, including in Africa, to fend for themselves in the face of a disease that has killed more than three million people around the world so far.
Egypt’s manufacturing the vaccine probably shines a ray of hope for poor nations in Africa, as it is expected that the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine that will be manufactured here will be affordable for our African
Developed in the traditional way, the vaccine uses killed viral particles that, once injected into the body, expose the immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
One significant advantage of this vaccine is also that it can be stored in standard refrigerators at 2-8 degrees Celsius.
In this, it differs from most other available vaccines which need to be stored at much lower temperatures.
Egypt participated in the clinical trials of Sinovac and Sinopharm, the other Chinese Covid-19 vaccine being used in the vaccination of Egyptians against Covid-19 now.
Zayed volunteered in the trials, along with hundreds of other people. World Health Organisation Representative (WHO) in Egypt, Dr Naeema el-Gasseer, said Egypt was one of the first countries in the world to manufacture vaccines.
WHO would co-operate with Egypt for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines in the coming period, el-Gasseer said.