The NantSA Vaccine Manufacturing Campus was officially launched at the Brackengate Business Park in Brackenfell yesterday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa joined Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of the multinational conglomerate NantWorks, LLC, in launching the NantSA vaccine manufacturing campus.
The president and Dr Soon-Shiong will also launch the Coalition to Accelerate Africa’s Access to Advanced Healthcare (The AAAH Coalition).
Dr Soon-Shiong is a South African-born American surgeon, professor and researcher, entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist. He is currently chair of NantWorks, LLC, executive director of the Wireless Health Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, an Adjunct Professor of Surgery at UCLA, and a visiting Professor at the Imperial College London.
NantSA, a division of NantWorks, and The AAAH Coalition aim to accelerate domestic production of pharmaceuticals, biologics and vaccines that will reach patients across the African continent.
Speaking at the launch, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing campus is part of a far broader initiative to propel Africa into a new era of health science.
“It is within the walls of this facility, through the networks that are being built, through the advanced skills that are being developed, and through the other initiatives across our continent, that our vision for vaccine, diagnostics and drug manufacturing in Africa will steadily take form,” he said.
The president also said the Covid-10 pandemic has revealed the extent of Africa’s health challenges. “The pandemic has revealed the huge disparities that exist within and between countries in access to quality healthcare, medicines, diagnostics and vaccines.
“At the same time, the pandemic has revealed the depth of scientific knowledge, expertise and capacity on our continent,” he said.
With the support of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, institutes for infectious disease and cancer centres of excellence will be established at the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand and the Chan Soon-Shiong Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CSS CERI) at the University of Stellenbosch.