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Global talks have begun on drafting new health rules for combating pandemics, and developing nations are lobbying for fairer access to treatments than they got during COVID-19. But they worry that the odds of a favourable outcome from a scheduled 18 months of negotiations at the World Health Organization (WHO) are already stacked against them, as they lack the negotiating firepower of wealthier countries.

The partnership with non-profit IVI, headquartered in South Korea, aims to boost output and reduce vaccine shortages amid a spate of global outbreaks that spurred the World Health Organization to temporarily change its dosage regime.

South Africa’s health regulator reported on Thursday a causal link between the death of an individual and Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine, the first time such a direct link has been made in the country.

The agreement will enable the sharing of scientific expertise, technical skills and materials with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help Afrigen produce mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 and other diseases, said the Cape Town-based biotech start-up.