Sanofi and Biovac Enhance Polio Vaccine Manufacturing in Africa

Sanofi and Biovac, based in Cape Town, South Africa, have announced a significant partnership aimed at local manufacturing of inactivated polio vaccines (IPV) across Africa. This collaboration marks a milestone as Biovac becomes the first African producer of IPV on the continent. The initiative is expected to cater to the needs of over 40 African countries, aligning with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s goal to increase local vaccine production to 60 percent by 2040.

Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President of Vaccines at Sanofi, highlighted the importance of this partnership in light of global disruptions to pediatric vaccination programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that establishing manufacturing capabilities ahead of time is crucial for meeting future vaccination needs.

Dr. Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, expressed pride in the partnership, stating that it positions Biovac to play a pivotal role in polio eradication efforts within Africa. Biovac, established in collaboration with the South African government in 2003, specializes in vaccine development and manufacturing, aiming to revive local capabilities in Southern Africa.

Sanofi, a longstanding partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, has supplied more than 1.5 billion doses of IPV globally through organizations like GAVI, aiming to vaccinate populations in over 70 countries. Under the new agreement, Sanofi will continue bulk production of IPV, while Biovac will handle late-stage formulation, filling, packaging, and delivery of IPV doses to UNICEF for GAVI-supported countries in Africa.

Polio, a highly contagious disease primarily affecting young children, can lead to paralysis or death and is preventable only through vaccination. Thanks to global efforts, including immunization campaigns under the GPEI over the past three decades, polio cases have been reduced by 99 percent worldwide. As of the end of 2023, polio remains endemic in only Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The partnership between Sanofi and Biovac represents a strategic move towards enhancing regional vaccine manufacturing capabilities and advancing the global goal of polio eradication.

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