African biotech holds the key to transforming not just the health of African people, but our economies as well
San Francisco, USA –(PLOS)—By guest contributor Yaw Bediako, PhD —The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and unprecedented impact on the lives of people all over the world. Most economies are still recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic and the long-term health effects of those previously infected are yet to be fully understood. One of the most disappointing legacies of the pandemic has been the significant disparity in vaccine access between high income and low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Over a year since the first COVID-19 vaccines were licensed only 27.3% of people in Africa have received at least one dose of a licensed vaccine, compared with 80% and 75% of the populations in the United States and the European Union respectively. This inequity has understandably resulted in calls for increased investment in vaccine manufacturing capacity across Africa, however lack of vaccine manufacturing capacity is a symptom of a much larger issue. The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of an African scientific ecosystem that is underfunded and currently unsustainable.
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