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New DFG-funded COVID-19 research project: Uneven geographies of vaccine manufacturing in the Global South

In February 2022 a new project has started in the research group. Uli Beisel and Madlen Hornung, in collaboration with colleagues at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil, University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, University of Ghana and the University of London in the United Kingdom, have received funding in the “COVID-19 Focus Funding: Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Global South: Health Systems and Society” program of the German Research Foundation.

Our 12-month project interrogates how fair access can be built into the design of vaccines and critically, their manufacturing processes. The pace of COVID-19 vaccine development has been nothing short of remarkable. In under a year from when genomic sequence of the novel coronavirus was made publicly available, millions of people around the world had received one of many viable candidates. Despite this tremendous achievement the global impact and public health value of these critical tools remains to be demonstrated. Vaccine equity, already a long-standing focus of global health concern, has, in the current crisis, become a lightning rod for geopolitical debate. In this context, it is critical to understand how technology transfer is being achieved in countries of the Global South that have limited vaccine production capacities so far. We aim to provide in-depth analysis of the tech-transfer and collaborative production processes in South Africa, Ghana and Brazil. Through the collaboration between social science scholars in the Americas, the African continent, United Kingdom and Germany, we hope to pilot a more substantive international research collaboration that accompanies the accelerated efforts to build up and strengthen vaccine-manufacturing efforts in the Global South. Studying vaccine R&D and manufacturing from a social science perspective will elaborate comparative insights for how social and global (in)justice is currently being enacted in these processes and could be in the future.

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), COVID-19 Focus Funding: Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Global South: Health Systems and Society

Funding Period: 2021-2022

Project Team:Prof. Dr. Andrew Barry, Department of Human Geography, University College London, United Kingdom; Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel, Department of Human Geography, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; Dr. John Kuumuori Ganle, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Ghana; Germany; Dr. Nele Jensen, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Kings College London, United Kingdom; Dr. Ann H. Kelly, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Kings College London, United Kingdom; Dr. Gustavo Matta, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil; Prof. Dr. Richard Rottenburg, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Vinayak Bhardwaj, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Madlen Hornung, Department of Human Geography, Freie Universität Berlin; Ester Rede, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil

News from Feb 24, 2022

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