The newly inaugurated Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL) has gone into partnership with Biovac Institute, South Africa, towards building capacity for vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
According to Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, one of its directors and the Managing Director/CEO of May & Baker Nigeria Plc., the BVNL team paid a two-day working visit to the Institute in Cape Town, South Africa recently to work out areas of collaboration between the two partners.
He explained that the Nigerian delegation was there “principally to immerse ourselves with the pragmatics of the operational intricacies, which pertains to vaccine manufacturing, and to explore the possibility of synergy towards building capacity for vaccine manufacturing in Africa, so as to strengthen the Africa Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative (AVMI).”
Responding, the CEO of Biovac, Dr. Morena Makhoana, who received their Nigerian counterparts, said the institute was open to any initiative to develop vaccine manufacturing capacity on the continent.
His words: “BIOVAC is keen on the initiative to work in furtherance of the specific collaborative avenues towards vaccine security and capacity building in Africa.”
Both BIO VAC and BVNL share institutional and operational similarities in many respects. For instance, the Federal Government is in a joint venture agreement with private sector to establish the BVNL, with 49 per cent stake held by the former, while the remaining 51 per cent is held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc. The partnership comprises a seven-member board with three members from the government and four from May & Baker.
BIOVAC, on its part, was established in 2003 as a public private partnership (PPP) between the Biovac Consortium and the South African government. While ensuring continuity of supply of paediatric vaccines to the Department of Health of South Africa, Biovac has been working hard at building vaccine-manufacturing capacity in South Africa. This work has culminated in a recently awarded manufacturing licence.