Billionaire opens vaccine plant in South Africa

US biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong on Wednesday launched a plant that will produce a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses in Cape Town by 2025, fulfilling a longtime plan to help bring greater health equity to the country of his birth.

Africa struggled to secure vaccines while wealthy countries were already giving their populations shots. While doses have started flowing to the region, the continent is seeking ways to ensure it isn’t left behind again.

In May, Soon-Shiong said he would give an initial R3 billion ($195 million) to South Africa to help with the transfer of new technology for Covid-19 vaccines and other therapies, including for diseases such as cancer, HIV and tuberculosis.

Through the establishment of NANTSA last year, Soon-Shiong started the process. He is also backing a Covid-19 vaccine candidate that he sees as having potential as a universal booster for other pandemic shots.

Read: Call for eased lockdown rules in South Africa

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