Africa CDC signs MOU with Pfizer to supply COVID-19 pills

The confirmation from Africa’s top public health agency comes within days of Modena and J&J announcing deals in Africa.

Africa’s top public health agency has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pfizer to bring supplies of the pharmaceutical firm’s Paxlovid antiviral COVID-19 pills to the continent.

“The memorandum of understanding is with the legal office at the AU [African Union]”, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told an online media briefing on Thursday.

The agency is a unit of the African Union.

The announcement comes within days of Moderna signing a deal with Kenya to build its first mRNA facility and a statement by South African drugmaker Aspen to sell, package and distribute Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

In October, Senegal and Rwanda signed an agreement with BioNTech for the construction of its first start-to-finish factories to make mRNA vaccines in Africa.

Nkengasong said African countries should be using a combination of public health measures, vaccines, testing and other treatments namely the Pfizer one in their efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

“These molecules have a very unique role to play in a campaign to fight against this terrible pandemic,” he said.

Nkengasong expressed concern about countries where vaccination rates were still very low, which include most African countries, saying people should not be complacent as the virus still posed a grave risk.

“Of course, the war going on in Ukraine has taken a lot of attention away from COVID, which is unfortunate because COVID has now killed close to six million people,” he said.

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