Sinovac in talks about setting up South Africa vaccine production, partner says

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – China’s Sinovac Biotech is in talks about setting up a vaccine production facility in South Africa with its local partner, the chief executive of Numolux said on Friday.

Hilton Klein made the comments at the launch of the South African leg of a global Phase III trial of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine in children and adolescents.

“This clinical trial is a precursor to the establishment of a South African vaccine manufacturing facility partnered by Sinovac and Numolux Group that will cover the entire spectrum of vaccinations beyond just the COVID-19 response,” Klein told a news conference.

“We are in talks with Sinovac to set up a vaccine manufacturing facility. A phase one where we will do bottling and labelling so that we can get vaccines out to the people of Africa as soon as possible,” he added.

Sinovac did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sinovac and Numolux are enrolling 2,000 participants in the South African leg of their study evaluating the efficacy, immunogenicity and safety of the CoronaVac vaccine on children and adolescents aged 6 months to 17 years.

The global trial will also enrol participants in Chile, the Philippines, Malaysia and Kenya.

South Africa’s government is considering using the CoronaVac vaccine in its immunisation programme alongside shots developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson which have been administered so far.

Drugs regulator SAHPRA in July gave conditional authorisation for use of Sinovac’s vaccine against COVID-19 for people aged between 18 and 59 years.

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