• Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

WAHO selects 5 firms to manufacture vaccines for ECOWAS countries

The West African Health Organisation (WAHO), which is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is collaborating with five potential vaccine manufacturers to develop vaccinations for the region.

Covid-19 vaccinations, for example, will be exported to other countries around the world.

Some companies have slated August and September this year as the start of construction on their operations, with vaccine production beginning in 2022.

DEK Consortium and Atlantic Life Science from Ghana, Innovative Biotech and Biovaccines from Nigeria, and the Pasteur Institute in Dakar have been chosen as possible manufacturers.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Office, and Mastercard Foundation are among the organizations that have pledged to support local vaccine manufacturers.

Professor Stanley Okolo, the Director-General of WAHO, made the announcement in Accra at a high-level meeting to discuss initiatives to enhance vaccine manufacture in the ECOWAS area.

WAHO selects 5 firms to manufacture vaccines for ECOWAS countries

Chairman of the Presidential Vaccines Committee, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said Ghana is working closely with Rwanda and Senegal in the development of the Covid-19 vaccines, which is expected soon in the country for packaging and distribution for commercial use by 2024.

He gave some highlights of Ghana’s progress regarding its vaccine development efforts, citing the expected completion of the National Vaccines Institute infrastructure by the third quarter of 2022 to coordinate the development and manufacturing of vaccines.

Others include strengthening collaboration between existing research capacity enhancement of the Food and Drugs Authority to attain International Standard Organisation Level Four of its laboratory performance, and the enhancement of human resource capacity base for research, management of manufacturing plants, as well as stakeholder engagements for the effective support of government efforts.

The meeting is being hosted in partnership with the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and sub-regional vaccine makers.

The meeting’s goal, according to Prof Okolo, is to establish a strong collaboration between these manufacturers in order to avoid rivalry.

He explained that some of the potential vaccine makers had signed fill-and-finish agreements with global vaccine manufacturers and would later manufacture their own vaccines.

Only 1% of vaccines used in Africa are produced locally, according to him.

Prof. Okolo stated that the goal is to reach a 60% growth by 2024, and that the continent possesses all of the necessary rudiments and building blocks to achieve this.

Given the urgency in the subregion and the vulnerability of the ECOWAS population to the Covid-19 pandemic and other diseases, he explained, the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO, working under the auspices of the ECOWAS Authorities of Heads of State and Governments, are assisting efforts to boost local vaccine manufacturing and other medical supplies in the subregion.

He claims that this cannot be accomplished without the necessary infrastructure and human resource capacity improvements.

According to him, the Covid-19 epidemic demonstrated that low- and middle-income countries must rely on vaccine donations from wealthy nations.

Prof. Okolo, on the other hand, noted that research has demonstrated that strengthening continental and regional manufacturing skills can help with pandemic preparedness and future outbreak response.

He estimates that West Africa will require 370 million doses of Covid-19 to reach the 70% vaccination aim.

To accomplish the anticipated breakthrough in vaccine manufacturing in Africa, he urged firms to publicly share their knowledge and experience and successfully interact with one another.

Obtaining the political will and approval of the ECOWAS Council of Heads of States and Governments to bring together manufacturers, partners, external collaborators, and regulators to develop the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, he said, is one of WAHO’s main goals.

“On the health side, among of the things we’ve done is harmonise the legislation so that you don’t have to go through 15 different nations to register a medicine, but instead go to a central platform,” he added.

In a speech read on her behalf, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, pledged her office’s commitment to support ECOWAS.

“We want to confirm the WHO regional office for West Africa’s commitment, in partnership with WHO headquarters, to support member states in strengthening capacity for local manufacturing in the region and supporting member states,” she said.

The Covid-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Moeti, exposed the over-reliance on low- and middle-income countries on gifts from wealthy nations.

WAHO selects 5 firms to manufacture vaccines for ECOWAS countries

WAHO seeks to improve pandemic preparedness and strengthen response to future epidemics by developing continental or regional manufacturing capabilities.

WAHO seeks to learn how manufacturers will pick specific vaccines of interest to develop as part of the two-day meeting’s agenda.

Contract clinical research organizations (CROs) and technological platforms of high yield, high-quality product employing the most cost-effective approaches available, as well as clinical trial centers, will be discussed.

Given the urgency in the region and the vulnerability of the ECOWAS population to the Covid-19 pandemics and other diseases, the ECOWAS Commission and the West African Health Organization have pledged their support for the establishment of a robust vaccine production capacity in the ECOWAS region, as decided by the ECOWAS Authorities of Heads of States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.