Sinovac’s South African partner plans to produce COVID-19 vaccines locally by year end

Numolux’s facility is expected to boost the continent’s vaccine supplies as vaccinations lag behind its counterparts.

Numolux Group, the South African firm that has partnered with Sinovac to produce CoronaVac locally has announced plans to have its vaccine manufacturing facility operational by the end of this year. According to Hilton Klein, the chief executive of the Centurion-based company, the first phase of the facility would handle bottling and labelling to help fast track efforts to supply locally produced shots to the continent. The news come after the duo kicked off their Phase III vaccine trial set to involve about 2,000 South African infants, children and adolescents last Friday. “This clinical trial is a precursor to the establishment of a South African vaccine manufacturing facility partnered by Sinovac and Numolux Group that will cover the entire spectrum of vaccinations beyond just the COVID-19 response,” said Klein.

The firm expects the facility to produce 100 million doses each year when operating at full capacity. Its aspirations also extend beyond COVID-19 vaccines. "The long-term plan is the manufacture and distribution of vaccines on the continent of Africa," said Anton Arendse, its Chief Operating Officer. Numolux joins Aspen Pharmacare and Biovac Institute in its pursuit to expand the continent’s vaccine manufacturing capacity. The Eastern Cape-based Aspen entered into an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccines locally, while Biovac has made a similar arrangement with Pfizer and BionNTech. CoronaVac, developed by Sinovac was granted emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization on the 1st of June. It was subsequently granted conditional approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) a month later.