South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called out heartily on a new COVID-19 and cancer vaccine initiative launched by a world-renowned digital healthcare company, Nantworks, as a game-changer for the country’s healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.

Owned by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, NantWorks is carrying out the initiative intending to build pharmaceutical and vaccine capacity for the entire African continent. The initiative is a collaboration between NantWorks’ African division NantAfrica, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

President Ramaphosa noted that: “The investment by NantWorks is most timely. For our fight against COVID-19, for infectious disease management, for cancer research and treatment, and for future pandemic preparedness”

Having been born in South Africa, Dr. Soon-Shiong, explained that it has been a dream of his as a young physician to bring state-of-the-art 21st-century medical care to South Africa and to enable the country to serve as a scientific hub for the continent.

“There is such an unmet need to treat life-threatening infectious diseases such as AIDS, TB, and now COVID-19. Of equal concern is the poor survival rate of patients suffering from cancer in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. The astounding advances in science have enabled new paradigms of care involving activating the immune system and changing outcomes for these diseases” he said.