Nigeria’s local vaccine production company, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL) has said it will ensure that Nigeria is served coronavirus vaccines simultaneously with other parts of the world as soon as the World Health Organisation (WHO) gives its nod for the use of any of the several COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
This it stated it would achieve through a partnership with international technical partners which are currently working on WHO approval of COVID-19 vaccines. The technical partners will bulk produce for BVNL.
To ensure that this happens Biovaciines is acquiring modular fill and finishing lines for the finishing of the vaccines in Nigeria by way of filling and capping. In readiness for this role Biovaccines earlier this month signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Market Access with the Federal Ministry of Health which enables her to serve approved vaccines of her international technical partners to the Nigerian market.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, BVNL Board Chairman, Prof. Adewole Tomori, said the company was satisfied with the cooperation and support it was receiving from the administration of President Muhammad Buhari and assured that the local manufacturing of vaccines in Nigeria will materialize in no distant time. He enumerated the benefits of the BVNL project to include job creation, foreign exchange earnings from export, development of biotechnological base, ability to develop novel vaccines for fighting Africa-specific diseases, security of quality vaccines, dealing efficiently with pandemic diseases and outbreaks, socio-economic development and enduring partnership opportunities.
The project would help Nigeria to better respond to emergencies like epidemic of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM), yellow fever, COVID-19 among others.
Tomori said the technical relationship with international vaccine producers is a pre-requisite for technology transfer to the Nigerian start up biological company. The technology partners will work with BVNL to set up WHO standard vaccine production facility in Nigeria within a short time frame.
Biovaccines Nigeria Limited is a special purpose vehicle for the resumption of vaccines production in Nigeria. It is a public private partnership between the federal government and May & Baker Nigeria Plc, one of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country.
BVNL Project Manager, Pharm. Everest Okeakpu said, “simultaneously, we have started procurement for Architectural, Structural and Conceptual, Basic and Detailed Engineering Services for the construction of a Greenfield.
“By the end of Quarter 1 next year, we would have been done with ground breaking. For projects of this nature, it would usually take about three to four years to go through faculty construction and equipment procurement; facility and equipment commissioning and qualification; process optimisation and media fill validation; facility certification; process validation and product registration.
“But, BVNL is working not only to compress this timeline but also fast tracking some of them by already importing modular facility to be ready for filling and finishing the COVID-19 vaccine locally.”