The head of the World Health Organisation says it is in discussions with companies and institutions to make the first technology transfer centre for coronavirus vaccines in South Africa.
In Geneva, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the consortium involved Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, which will make mRNA vaccines and train other producers.
“WHO is facilitating this effort by establishing the criteria for technology transfer,” Dr Tedros said.
“We are now in discussions with several companies that have indicated interest in providing their mRNA technology.”
He said that while Covid-19 infections had been declining for eight weeks straight globally, case numbers had risen by 40 per cent in Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said many people in developing countries were “still struggling for access to vaccines that are made in their billions in the north".
Mr Ramaphosa said the unequal vaccine distribution was unfair, describing those in rich countries as having lives “worth much more than the lives of those in poorer countries”.
WHO emergencies chief Dr Mike Ryan said the agency would follow up with Olympics and Japanese authorities about their decision on Monday to allow domestic fans to attend the Games.
But Dr Ryan said Japan’s recent Covid-19 rates were lower than those in many other countries, including Britain, the US, France and the Netherlands.