African and European leaders, together with the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, demand a collective investment so that “all regions of the world” are provided with infrastructures for the production of vaccines and peoplel to act in future pandemics.
“The WHO supports a multilateral effort to launch and spread messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology in developing countries,” says an open letter published in Le Monde and other international newspapers and also signed by the presidents. from Rwanda, France, South Africa, Senegal and Germany.
The leaders say they are “aware that It is not about knowing ‘if’ there will be a new pandemic, but ‘when’”. “It is time to intensify collaboration, favor local production and reinforce confidence in locally manufactured products to be more prepared for the next crisis,” they point out.
The letter recalls that the opening of a technology transmission center for this type of vaccine in South Africa last year, which was supported by the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), Germany, France and the European Union, is yielding results, as the conception of a new vaccine made on the basis of publicly accessible data.
This center plans to develop a wide range of vaccines and other products to combat diseasessuch as insulin to treat diabetes, cancer drugs and vaccines against other priority diseases, such as HIV infection, tuberculosis, malaria, among others.
German biotech company BioNTech pledged in June to complete its malaria vaccine program and to manufacture any approved products in Africa.
WHO is addressing the need for strengthen the capacity of staff working in these units through training, as with the creation of a biomanufacturing training center in South Korea, operating as part of the WHO Academy in Lyon, to help developing countries.
In addition, the institution and its partners are investing in strengthening regulatory agencies in Africa and elsewhere to ensure quality standards and approve health products alongside regulatory authorities in the continent and high-income countries.
This will come into play with the creation of the African Medicines Agency, whose headquarters will be in Rwanda, and which will be the pharmaceutical regulatory body on the continent.
In the last place, leaders recognize the need for African countries vaccine producers, current and future, have access to vaccine supply platformsincluding the GAVI Alliance for Access to Vaccines.
This will depend on the existence of a “sustainable and competitive market in which providers of vaccines and other new pharmaceuticals are willing to acquire these vital tools.”
At the last World Health Assembly, which took place in Geneva in May, governments agreed on the need for a new agreement on pandemics with globally adapted rules and mechanisms in an interconnected world, as well as the need for additional funding to make basic investments. (YO)