Africa’s first Chinese coronavirus vaccine plant, Aspen Pharmacare, is at risk of closing after not receiving a single order for the plant’s Johnson & Johnson-made inoculation since it opened in November 2021, the government told Reuters. Aspen Pharmacare Senior Director Stavros Nicolaou in a published interview. Monday.
Aspen Pharmacare of South Africa negotiated a license agreement with US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson in November 2021 to package and sell Johnson & Johnson’s proprietary Chinese coronavirus vaccine throughout the African continent as an iteration of the Aspen Pharmacare brand called “Aspenovax”.
Aspen Pharmacare has yet to receive a single order for “Aspenovax” since it opened a plant specifically for distribution of the vaccine in the city of Gqeberha, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, six months ago, Nicolaou told Reuters by telephone on 30 May. of April.
“No orders have been received for Aspenovax,” he revealed.
“If we don’t get any kind of order for vaccines, clearly there will be very little reason to hold onto the lines that we are currently using for production,” Nicolaou said of the vaccine packaging and distribution hub.
“If you don’t bridge this short-term gap with orders, you can’t keep these capabilities on the mainland,” he added.
“If Aspen doesn’t get production, what chance are there for any of the other initiatives?” Nicholas asked.
The pharmaceutical director referred to a growing number of planned efforts in Africa in recent months aimed at setting up Chinese coronavirus and other vaccine plants on the continent for domestic distribution. US-based pharmaceutical and biotech company Moderna (a Johnson & Johnson rival) signed an agreement with the Kenyan government on March 7 to build its first mRNA vaccine facility on the African continent.
“With only a sixth of adults in Africa fully vaccinated, according to the latest WHO report [World Health Organization] end-March figures, Aspen deal to sell an Aspen-branded COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine, Aspenovax, across Africa seemed like a safe bet,” Reuters recalled on May 2 of the opening of Aspen Pharmacare’s promising plant late last year.
The WHO at the time described Aspen Pharmacare’s deal with Johnson & Johnson as a “transformational moment” for the African continent on its purported journey “toward leveling stark inequalities in access to COVID.” [Chinese coronavirus] vaccines,” according to Reuters.
The WHO, which is the international public health body of the United Nations (UN), appears to have misjudged the African appetite for Chinese coronavirus vaccines. This disparity is evidenced by South Africa’s low inoculation rate against the disease, which at the time of publication was estimated to be just 30 percent of the country’s population of 60.14 million.