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Sharing technology and supporting innovation is more than just fairness.It's also the best way to stop the pandemic

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Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. French President Emmanuel Macron. Cyril Ramaphosa, President, South Africa. Macky Sall, President of Senegal. Olaf Scholz, Chancellor, Germany. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Injustice has plagued the response to harmful pathogens. Taking COVID-19 as an example, an unprecedented 11.9 billion doses of his vaccine have been administered worldwide, helping many countries turn the tide of the pandemic. But in Africa he is more than 80% never vaccinated and it has been about 18 months since the first person was vaccinated. As long as this gap exists, we cannot protect the world from new virus variants and end the acute phase of this pandemic.

Thanks to a breakthrough innovation, an effective vaccine to protect against COVID-19 has been developed in record time. However, in the early days of the immunization push, the production of vaccines and other medical technologies was concentrated in a few, mostly wealthy, countries. Poor countries lined up at the end of the line. The situation has since changed and global supply is outstripping global demand. The ACT-Accelerator and the international community, led through his COVAX facility, play an important role to this end, and the response to scourges such as COVID-19 requires sufficient resources to protect public health. We have identified the need for preparation and new ways of working.

A major challenge now is how to maintain vaccine efficacy, increase the capacity of national public health systems to administer, increase vaccine uptake, and combat the spread of misinformation that incites vaccine hesitation.

A clear lesson of this pandemic is that local and regional production of vaccines and other essential health products in low- and middle-income countries must be scaled up. This will enable both direct access to vaccines and the development of local ecosystems for vaccine production. As long as global supply chains are uninterrupted, supply will be more reliable and fairer in the event of the next crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the governments of the African Union, the European Union, South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Germany, France, and partners encourage industry and partners to scale up local vaccine production and drive global and regional improvements. We are working to help. Working together to prevent and respond to future pandemics. Jointly investing in ensuring that all regions of the world have state-of-the-art production infrastructure, trained personnel, institutional and regulatory arrangements are valuable assets for our common health security. .

WHO supports multilateral efforts to develop and disseminate mRNA technology in developing countries.

A year ago, WHO, South Africa and the Pharmaceutical Patent Pool established a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines in Cape Town.[1], EU, France, Germany and other local and international partners. The Hub’s goal is to bring this technology to developing countries by providing manufacturers with training and licenses to produce their own vaccines for national and regional use.

With donor support, the hub is already paying off. Scientists have designed a new mRNA vaccine based on publicly available information. Local manufacturers in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe were selected to receive the technology. Pharmaceutical patent pool partners are ready to assist with licensing technology. A new African Development Bank initiative, the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF), could also contribute.

Part of the private sector is also being strengthened. The recent groundbreaking ceremony in Rwanda for his first mRNA production facility in Africa, built by German company BioNTech, is another example of efforts by African countries to work with partners to increase their resilience in the face of a pandemic. One example. A similar facility is planned for Senegal, where we are working with Ghana to provide filling and finishing services.

mRNA technology is not just for fighting COVID-19. Adaptable to tackle other diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and leishmaniasis, countries can manufacture the tools they need to meet their health needs. At a recent summit in Kigali, BioNTech committed to completing his malaria vaccine program and manufacturing licensed products in Africa. South Africa’s WHO mRNA Hub Program is developing a wide range of vaccines and other products to address the disease threat, including insulin to treat diabetes, cancer drugs, and vaccines for other priority diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. We are already looking at the development of and HIV.

Building a vaccine production facility is difficult, but ensuring its sustainability is even harder.

First, there is a need to strengthen workforce capacity by providing dedicated training to staff working in these facilities. WHO is addressing this gap through its Biomanufacturing Training Hub in South Korea, which operates under the framework of the WHO Academy based in Lyon, France, to help developing countries develop vaccines as well as insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and helping to produce cancer treatments. Rwanda recently launched the African Biomanufacturing Institute (ABI). It is an innovative organization that connects industry training providers and universities to train the local workforce.

Second, manufacturing health products requires strong regulatory capacity to ensure quality standards and approve the final product. WHO and partners are investing in strengthening regulatory bodies across Africa and beyond. The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the African Union Development Agency are working with regulators on the continent and in high-income countries to increase their capacity. Also, the African Medicines Agency (AMA), headquartered in Rwanda, will enter into force and become Africa’s continental medicine regulatory authority.

Strengthening regulatory authorities in developing countries will also increase confidence in locally produced products and combat the availability of misinformation and unsafe counterfeit medicines.

Third, new production facilities will rely heavily on a sustainable and competitive market environment in which suppliers of vaccines and other new medicines are ready to buy these life-saving tools. We recognize the need for current and future African vaccine producing countries to access vaccine procurement platforms such as GAVI, among others. Market-shaping strategies at the regional and continental levels can ensure the sustainability of ongoing efforts, as outlined by the Partnership for Vaccine Manufacturing in Africa, and are supported by leading market-shaping bodies such as Unitaid. and partners are ready to support. G7 leaders also took up the issue and requested relevant international actors to work on a joint market-building strategy.

At the recent World Health Assembly, there was consensus that building strong and sustainable manufacturing capacity in developing countries is essential for a safer world.

WHO Member States also discussed the need for a new pandemic agreement. Because our interconnected world needs globally agreed norms and mechanisms to ensure strong coordination during severe health crises.

And importantly, governments recognized the urgent need for additional funding to make critical investments in pandemic preparedness and response capabilities nationally, regionally and globally. In this regard, we welcome the newly established Financial Intermediation Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, housed in the World Bank, with WHO playing a central technical leadership role.

We know the next outbreak isn’t about when it will happen, it’s about when. Time is critical to strengthen cooperation, boost local manufacturing and build trust in locally made products.


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