WHO reveals countries producing first COVID mRNA vaccines in Africa |
The announcement was made at a ceremony hosted by the World Health Organization.WHO), the European Council, France and South Africa, as well as with the participation of their respective presidents.
“No other event like this COVID-19 The pandemic has shown that reliance on a few companies to provide global public goods is limiting and dangerous.“WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The revolutionary mRNA technology teaches the body’s own cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response without the use of any viral material. In the case of COVID-19, it produces a harmless fragment of the spike protein, warning the body to defend itself against the virus.
Production at home
Last year, a global mRNA technology transfer center was set up in South Africa to support low- and middle-income countries to produce their own mRNA vaccines with the necessary operating procedures and know-how in line with international standards.
Created primarily to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, this hub can expand its capacity to other industries as well, putting countries at the forefront when it comes to the types of vaccines needed to address their health priorities.
Depending on the country’s infrastructure, workforce and regulatory capacity, WHO and partners will work with them to develop a roadmap, provide training and support to start producing high-potency vaccines at home as soon as possible.
“This is an initiative that will allow us to produce our own vaccines and… means mutual respect… an investment in our economy… and, in many ways, a return to the continent.” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
To ensure that each country builds capacity to produce its own vaccines and health technologies, WHO is establishing a biomanufacturing training center for countries interested in manufacturing and scientific and clinical research, to be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition, WHO’s ongoing work in support of low- and middle-income countries will be enhanced by a global tool that assesses countries’ ability to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of health commodities.
It will also provide training to build flexible and responsive regulatory systems.
To cope with health emergencies … greatly increase the capacity of all regions to produce the medical supplies they need – head of WHO
“In the medium to long term, the best way to manage health emergencies and achieve universal health coverage is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to produce the health products they need, with equitable access as their main end goal,” said Tedros. .
The WHO mRNA Technology Transfer Center is part of a broader effort to empower low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for universal health coverage.
Initial efforts are focused on mRNA technologies and biologics that are important for vaccine production and could also be used for other products such as insulin for diabetes, cancer drugs, and possibly vaccines for other priority diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. .
The ultimate goal is to extend national and regional production capacity building to all health technologies.
French President Emmanuel Macron noted that in an interconnected world, closer new cooperation between countries, development partners and others is important “to enable regions and countries to stand up for themselves, in times of crisis and in times of peace.”
“Improving public health benefits, supporting African health sovereignty and economic development are the main goals of strengthening local production in Africa,” he added.