Geneva – The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement of the first step in increasing access to much needed COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) through diversification and strengthening of local production. Following WHO’s call for Expression of Interest in April, South Africa is set to host the first technology transfer hub through a public/private consortium comprising Biovac, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MPP will be working in close collaboration with WHO and will assist on the patent landscaping and licensing needed by the South African hub and those to follow.

“We are delighted to be working alongside WHO on this essential initiative that aims not only to deliver COVID-19 vaccines but also strengthen regional capacity and supply security in the long term,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP. “The lack of local production has rightly become an issue of extreme urgency and we welcome this opportunity to help address it. At MPP, we are fully engaged to ensure that those living in LMICs have rapid access to the quality COVID-19 health technologies they need to end this pandemic.”

Furthermore, MPP will assist WHO in negotiating with technical partners and devising legal frameworks for governance agreements that prioritise public health