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Deal to Produce Vaccines in Africa

Pfizer and BioNTech are partnering with the Cape Town-based Biovac Institute to produce SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in South Africa, the Wall Street Journal.

According to the companies, they plan to incorporate Biovac's Cape Town facility into their vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021, and they expect the facility will produce more than 100 million vaccine doses a year once fully operational in 2022. These vaccine doses, the companies say, will be distributed to countries within the African Union. Currently, the Journal notes that only about 1.5 percent of the population in Africa is fully vaccinated.

"The only way to solve this is to allow Africa to produce," Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean businessman who is leading the African Union's vaccine procurement team, has said, according to the Journal. "It hasn't been allowed to produce."

CNN reports that this announcement has been well received. "It is great and welcome news that must be celebrated in the context of this pandemic as every action counts. I see this as a part of the collective action to address technology transfer and intellectual property," John Nkengasong, the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells CNN.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.