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South Africa to develop HIV, TB and malaria vaccines

South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, opens the third branch of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Cape Town

South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, has opened the third branch of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Cape Town, according to local media reports.

The centre will conduct vaccine R&D for HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases affecting the country.

South Africa has spent ZAR 40m (USD 5.6m) on the ICGEB lab, which is located at the University of Cape Town's Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine.

As South Africa's funds were only sufficient to establish three research groups, President Mbeki challenged the international community to donate up to ZAR 120m (USD 17m), which would help to fund seven research programmes slated for a 2010 launch.

Mbeki also invited potential partners to assist and work with the ICGEB to ensure that it realised its objectives.

Nigeria and Tanzania lost out in competitive bids to host the African branch of ICGEB. The other ICGEB sites are located in Trieste, Italy, and New Delhi, India.

30th September 2008

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