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Thursday, 22 April 2021

Vacsera inks Sinovac manufacturing agreements

We just took a big step towards locally-made Sinovac vaccines after state-owned Vacsera signed two joint manufacturing agreements with China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Company to locally produce the vaccine, according to a cabinet statement yesterday. Sinovac will provide Vacsera with all technical information related to the jab, while also conducting chemical and mechanical quality control testing of finished products and lab equipment. Under the agreement, Sinovac will also ensure maintenance of Vacsera’s manufacturing facilities. The country plans to manufacture 80 mn doses of each year, the Health Ministry said.

And Vacsera could build additional manufacturing facilities if necessary under the agreements. For the final packaging and quality control, Vacsera could ask Sinovac to train its employees at the Egypt-based manufacturing facilities, or at the company’s plants in Beijing. Egypt plans to manufacture 80 mn doses of the Chinese vaccine each year. Sinovac reportedly has an efficacy rate of 50.4% in preventing symptomatic infections — which is well below the 79% efficacy rate Sinopharm has claimed.

We’re also still working on an agreement to locally manufacture Russia’s Sputnik V, which was at the top of the agenda for Health Minister Hala Zayed and Russian Ambassador Georgiy Borisenko during a meeting this week, although no agreement was reached, according to a statement. Sputnik V — which is nearly 92% effective — has earned emergency use approval from the Egyptian Drug Authority.

Russia is separately looking to fast-track procedures for the delivery of an unspecified number of doses of Sputnik V to Egypt, Borisenko said.

And we’ve apparently upped our orders of Sinopharm to 40 mn doses, the delivery of which China is working to expedite, Chinese ambassador in Cairo Liao Liqiang told Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. That’s double the number of Sinopharm jabs Health Minister Hala Zayed said last week Egypt had purchased. We have so far received 680k doses of Sinopharm, while another 500k-dose batch of the vaccine should arrive “soon,” Zayed previously said.

Could Egypt get its Covax jabs faster thanks to a push from France? Paris has pledged to send 500k doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Gavi / Covax scheme by mid-June, including 100k this month in a bid to compete with China and Russia’s vaccine diplomacy pushes, an advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron said, according to Reuters. The move would be the first donation of actual vaccine doses, rather than funding, to the Covax cheme, which has been bogged down by delays.

Egypt is set to get its hands on as many as 4.5 mn doses of the AstraZeneca jab through Covax by the end of May, as part of a 5 mn-dose batch that is promised to deliver to Egypt.

Update on Sohag covid-19 spike: Fever and chest hospitals in Sohag are currently 80-90% full as the governorate continues to see “slight but continuous increases” in covid-19 infections, according to a ministry statement. The ministry has ramped up the availability of medical facilities and equipment in the governorate to cope with the recent jump in cases, according to the statement.

On a brighter note, there has been a “significant” decrease in covid-19 infections and deaths among medical personnel, Zayed said at a cabinet meeting yesterday. The minister’s statement comes days after the Doctors Syndicate urged the ministry to ramp up its inoculation of medical staff, after 50 doctors died from covid-19 in the past two weeks.

We currently have 208 vaccination centers up and running nationwide, up from 193 at the end of last week, according to Zayed. The minister previously signaled that we could soon have as many as 350 operational centers as part of a plan to accommodate 112k individuals per day.

The Health Ministry reported 861 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 855 the day before. Yesterday was the 18th consecutive day our daily infection count increased. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 218,902 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 36 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,866.

The UAE is mulling imposing movement restrictions on unvaccinated residents aged 16 and above, including restricting their access to some locations and services, as the Emirates pushes forward with its inoculation drive, Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, said in a statement.

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