US biotech Billionaire Patrick Soon Shiong and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched NantSA Vaccine production hub, a vaccine manufacturing facility aimed at producing COVID-19 vaccines to stop COVID -19. Located in Cape Town the facility seeks to manufacture 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses a year, from scratch to finish by 2025.
This COVID-19 vaccine by ImmunityBio targets both the mutation-prone spike protein of the virus, as well as its nucleocapsid protein and can be used as a universal booster for earlier shots that can help end the pandemic. The current available vaccines only target the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus that constantly mutates.
“We want to manufacture this in Africa for Africa and export it to the world,” said South African born Soon-Shiong.
To date only 10.1% of Africa’s 1.2Billion people have been fully vaccinated which compares to 62% of Americans and 72% of people in the UK. NantSA will be the biggest vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa and could help vaccinate all of Africa against COVID –19 in a short while.
Shiong says he will give an initial R3 billion ($195 million) to South Africa to help with the transfer of new technology for Covid-19 vaccines and other therapies, including for diseases such as cancer, HIV and tuberculosis.
In September 2021, Dr. Soon-Shiong, the founder of the multinational conglomerate NantWorks LLC, announced an ambitious initiative to build capacity for advanced health care in Africa by building manufacturing facilities and a biologics manufacturing campus in South Africa. The company would also provide technology, know-how and materials for rNA, DNA, adjuvant vaccine platforms and cell therapy.
“Africa stands ready to enter a new age of medical science. It stands ready to take responsibility for the health of its people, to understand better the diseases that afflict them, and to develop the means to manage these diseases,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.