Covid: Aspenovax, the made in South Africa vaccine rejected by Africa

The serum manufactured in South Africa is piling up in its production plant because there are no takers. Yet the African continent that it is supposed to supply is suffering from a glaring shortage of doses.
Africa, which has long aspired to have significant vaccine production capacity, is now witnessing an enormous paradox in this struggle. In country after country, the continent’s policymakers are simply ignoring one of its local sources of supply.
The Aspenovax vaccine, the result of a 2021-2026 licensing agreement between the South African pharmaceutical firm Aspen Pharmacare and the American Janssen, is clearly of no interest to anyone. At least that’s what the cry from Stavros Nicolaou, a senior executive at Aspen, suggests in recent days.
Less than a week ago, the executive indicated that his company had still not received a single order for vaccines, despite the fact that production began nearly a month ago after lengthy negotiations.
Aspen, which has been involved in the bottling of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) serum since the beginning of the fight against the pandemic, won the right to manufacture it at its Port Elizabeth facility on March 8, after negotiations last year. The company, which has operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, among others, was banking on Africa’s strong need for vaccines to sell its product.