Vaccine Production: WHO says Nigeria’s Biovaccines Ltd to receive mRNA technology transfer

The World Health Organisation has announced that Nigeria’s Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL) and 14 other manufacturers in Africa will receive support from the mRNA technology transfer programme.

The WHO announced this through its Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) in a statement, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

BVNL is a  joint venture between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), and May & Baker Nigeria Plc (MBN), as Special Purpose Vehicle for vaccine production, with the FG owning 49%.

What the WHO is saying

The health organisation stated that the scheme is based around a technology transfer “hub” Afrigen, which is located in South Africa, citing that companies in low- and middle-income countries, will receive training and technology from the hub and then produce and sell products commercially.

“This global initiative, supported by WHO, MPP and partners, is designed to encourage the sustainable development of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics against COVID-19 and other diseases that threaten low- and middle-income countries.

“So far, there are 15 selected recipients of the mRNA technology through the WHO hub. Last week, a vaccine manufacturer from Indonesia, government-owned Biofarma, completed its technology transfer training at Afrigen. In March, Bio-Manguinhos from Brazil and Sinergium Biotech from Argentina received the technology transfer training at Afrigen,” the statement read.

President Muhammadu Buhari also ordered the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to submit a progress report by the end of May 2022 on the indigenous production of vaccines.

“While the Ministry of Health continues to drive collaboration with investors for vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, in a move towards self-sufficiency, I welcome the NIBI consortium’s desire to partner with the Federal Government in support of our agenda and look forward to the implementation of the NIBI project as it takes shape,’’ the president said.

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