Egypt plans to produce, export Chinese COVID-19 vaccine: what to expect

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Wed, 24 Mar 2021 - 12:05 GMT

A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech – Reuters

A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech – Reuters

CAIRO – 24 March 2021: Egypt is planning to sign an agreement with the Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac so that Egypt starts producing the company’s coronavirus vaccine and imports doses to Africa.

The manufacturing process is set to take place inside the factories of the Egyptian Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA).

The World Health Organization (WHO) sent international experts to the assess the performance of the VACSERA factories in order for these factories to start manufacturing the vaccine and send it to African countries.

In remarks to Egypt Today, an official source from the Ministry of Health said VACSERA has undergone initial assessment to produce the vaccine, in cooperation with Sinovac, the vaccine’s owner.

The source added that the production of the Chinese vaccine will help Egypt achieve self-sufficiency of vaccines and provide the African continent with vaccine doses.

The source noted that the vaccine will be available in a reasonable price that all citizens can afford.

George Atallah, a member of the Pharmacists’ Syndicate board told Egypt Today that the Egyptian drug expertise and geographical position make it normal for the country to manufacture the vaccine.

He added that the Middle East and Africa have big confidence in the Egyptian products.

Atallah affirmed that most of the Arab countries may rely on Egypt to provide them with vaccine, in case the country started producing the Chinese vaccine.

Egypt’s plans to locally produce the Chinese vaccine dates back to July last year.

Health Ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed said in July Egypt is expected to be the African hub for manufacturing China’s vaccine shortly after proven effective against the pandemic.

Egypt has been also among the countries that hosted clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine last year and has been the first African country to receive Sinopharm doses.

So far, Egypt has received 650,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses, including 600,000 as a gift from China.

Egypt and UAE say the Sinopharm vaccine has an 86 percent efficacy against coronavirus.

The Chinese vaccine has also shown 99 percent efficacy in producing antibodies to the novel virus and 100 percent efficacy in preventing cases from showing moderate or severe symptoms, Megahed said.

The Egyptian plans come also amid repetitive calls from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to ensure fair distribution of coronavirus vaccine among nations so that sufficient doses reach to African countries.

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