Africa Business in Brief | Issue 378 | 15 Nov 2020

Africa Business in Brief | Issue 378 | 15 Nov 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

World: With COVID-19 infections surging worldwide, a united group of 18 companies representing a large portion of the world’s generic pharmaceutical manufacturers pledged to work together to accelerate access to hundreds of millions of doses of new interventions for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) via the non-profit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). “This unprecedented cooperation from companies that are typically competitors represents a breakthrough in our efforts to level the playing field for access to drugs that will be crucial to controlling and defeating this pandemic,” said Charles Gore, executive director of MPP. “These are companies with an excellent track record of working with originators to ensure generic versions of their innovations meet high standards for quality – while answering the need for more affordable, accessible therapies.” Gore noted that collectively the 18 companies joining the pledge have the capacity to deliver substantial amounts of conventional drugs, technically known as “small molecules” in industry parlance, and an increasing ability to produce more molecules known as biologics. Biologics include monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19 that have shown promise as potential ways to either treat or prevent infections – but cost and manufacturing capacity pose substantial barriers to deploying them globally. Gore said he hopes the pledge by such a respected group of generic industry players to produce large volumes of high-quality COVID-19 treatments will encourage firms now developing either new or re-purposed therapies to negotiate agreements allowing rapid access to those in need. This can be either through licensing of their intellectual property, or where licences are not needed, facilitating ways to scale up manufacturing capacity to meet the high demands.

Source: Medicines Patent Pool

Africa: Despite the profound crises of 2020 which have jeopardised hundreds of thousands of jobs across Africa, the African Energy Chamber expects employment to remain strong thanks to ongoing capital projects sanctioned since 2018, especially LNG ventures. Inflexible capital programs will indeed assist in sustaining the overall employment throughout 2020 and 2021. As a result, the Chamber does not see big immediate impact from COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 on job numbers as the initiated capital programs in 2018 and 2019 are ongoing and ramping up activity. This is particularly the case for Total’s mega greenfield Mozambique LNG project in Mozambique requiring north of 10,000 employees to set up two liquefaction trains with a combined export capacity of 12.88 million tonnes per year […]

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