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Africa: Why Africa Needs to Be Involved in the Development of Covid-19 Vaccines

Understanding the epidemiology of Covid-19 and moving forward would be critical to determining policy on the need to adopt interventions, including the Covid-19 vaccines that are being developed.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to exact a toll on the health front, with about 25.5 million cases and 851,000 deaths documented as of 1 September 2020. Soberingly, this count represents only a conservative estimate of the number of people who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 and who have died of Covid-19.

Central to this undercount has been the limited capabilities and capacity even in high-income countries to undertake adequate testing of suspected cases with symptoms suggestive of Covid-19, which is further exacerbated by the majority of adults (40%-60%) and children under 18 years (80%) likely to be asymptomatic. Consequently, even in the US, the country with the highest number of reported cases (6.03 million) and deaths (183,500), and where the testing rate is about 253 per 1,000 population, modelling suggests that the actual number of infections may be threefold to twelvefold higher in different states than has been documented.

In Africa, the capabilities to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection is severely constrained because of limited laboratory capacity. Despite the Africa Centres for Disease…

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