Drugs for treating Covid-19 would be crucial in the eventuality of another more transmissible variant emerging and public health systems becoming overwhelmed.
“The only way to relieve that will be if we have drugs like Paxlovid where people can take it and stay home and get relief, and that way the burden and the constraints on the health system will be limited,” Nkengasong told an online news briefing.
“That's why we are working on those three things this year.”
Africa has officially recorded more than 10-million cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, though the real number is likely much higher due to patchy testing.
Several African countries are going through fourth or fifth waves of infections.
Nkengasong said 10% of Africans were fully vaccinated.
South Korea will begin treating Covid-19 patients with Paxlovid on Friday, the first Asian country to do so.