South African laboratory Afrigen Biologics said on Thursday it had used the publicly available sequence of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to create its own version of the vaccine.
According to the Director of the society, Petro Terblanche, the vaccine could be tested in humans before the end of this year.
The vaccine candidate would be the first to be made based on a widely used vaccine without the assistance and approval of the developer.
It is also the first mRNA vaccine designed, developed and produced at lab scale on the African continent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) last year picked a consortium including Afrigen Biologics for a pilot project to give poor and middle-income countries the know-how to make COVID vaccines, after market leaders of the mRNA COVID vaccine, Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna , declined a WHO request to share their technology and expertise.