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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Six African countries to establish mRNA vaccine production: WHO

ANI | Updated: Feb 18, 2022 03:01 IST


Geneva [Switzerland], February 18 (ANI): World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Thursday announced that Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia will be establishing mRNA vaccine production.
The announcement was made at a ceremony hosted by the European Council, France, South Africa and WHO in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said WHO statement.
"No other event like the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that reliance on a few companies to supply global public goods is limiting, and dangerous. In the mid-to-long term, the best way to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to manufacture the health products they need, with equitable access as their primary endpoint," said the WHO chief.
"This is an initiative that will allow us to make our own vaccines and that, to us, is very important. It means mutual respect, mutual recognition of what we can all bring to the party, investment in our economies, infrastructure investment and, in many ways, giving back to the continent," said Ramaphosa.
Macron said improved public health benefits, supporting African health sovereignty and economic development are the principal goals of strengthening local production in Africa. "In an interconnected world, we need stronger and new partnerships between countries, development partners and other stakeholders to empower regions and countries to fend for themselves, during crises, and in peacetime."
The President of the European Council asserted the need to create an environment where every scientist, health worker, and government can band together for a common cause. "Working together to build new solutions to protect what is most precious - our health and our lives."
The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to support manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and know-how to manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards, read WHO statement.
Primarily set up to address the COVID-19 emergency, the hub has the potential to expand manufacturing capacity for other products as well, putting countries in the driver's seat when it comes to the kinds of vaccines and other products they need to address their health priorities.
WHO and partners will work with the beneficiary countries to develop a roadmap and put in place the necessary training and support so that they can start producing vaccines as soon as possible, added the statement.
To ensure that all countries build the necessary capacity to produce their own vaccines and other health technologies, WHO has been working to establish a biomanufacturing workforce training hub that will train people from all interested countries in scientific and clinical research and production capacity. The training hub will be announced in the coming weeks.
The initial effort is centred on mRNA technologies and biologicals, which are important for vaccine manufacturing and can also be used for other products, such as insulin to treat diabetes, cancer medicines and, potentially, vaccines for other priority diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. The ultimate goal is to extend capacity building for national and regional production to all health technologies, said the statement. (ANI)

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