COVID-19 has reignited the debate about the local manufacture of vaccines and its critical link to public health. There are now multiple initiatives to build more resilient health systems and establish a global capability in vaccine supply. The possibility of future pandemics, and the need to avoid a repetition of the economic disintegration which has taken place over the last 18 months, has opened an urgent dialogue about intellectual property, technology transfer and technological capability.
South Africa’s participation in the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine value chain could have been more significant, were it not for the slow implementation of a public-private partnership, established in 2003 to modernize the country’s vaccine capability. Using a framework informed by the theories of innovation systems and industrial policy, this seminar will cover the background to the partnership, its achievements, its failings and its lack of preparedness for COVID-19. The presentation will also outline present technologies for the manufacture of vaccines, including the mRNA- and adenovirus-based products, and how the new approaches could change the sector. In the final section, these developments and the lessons from the historical analysis will be extended to suggest ways in which the partnership could be more strategically managed, and South Africa’s response to future pandemics considerably strengthened.
See attachment for the programme and more information.