Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam to receive mRNA technology from the technology transfer hub.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the Republic of Korea and the WHO Academy announced the establishment of a global biomanufacturing training hub that will serve all low- and middle-income countries wishing to produce biologicals, such as vaccines, insulin, monoclonal antibodies and cancer treatments.
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said:
One of the key barriers to successful technology transfer in low- and middle-income countries is the lack of a skilled workforce and weak regulatory systems. Building those skills will ensure that they can manufacture the health products they need at a good quality standard so that they no longer have to wait at the end of the queue.
The Government of the Republic of Korea has offered a large facility outside Seoul that is already carrying out biomanufacturing training for companies based in the country and will now expand its operations to accommodate trainees from other countries. The facility will provide technical and hands-on training on operational and good manufacturing practice requirements and will complement specific trainings developed by the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa. The WHO Academy will work with the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to develop a comprehensive curriculum on general biomanufacturing.
In parallel, WHO is intensifying regulatory system strengthening through its Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT), an instrument that assesses regulatory authorities’ maturity level. The GBT will serve as the main parameter for WHO to include national regulators in the WHO-listed Authorities list. Another aim is to build a network of regional centres of excellence that will act as advisers and guides for countries with weaker regulatory systems.
Five more countries will also receive support from the global mRNA hub in South Africa: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam. These countries were vetted by a group of experts and proved that they had the capacity to absorb the technology and, with targeted training, move to production stage relatively quickly.
Numerous countries responded to the call for expressions of interest from the technology transfer hub in late 2021. WHO will provide support to all of the respondents but is currently prioritizing countries that do not have mRNA technology but already have some biomanufacturing infrastructure and capacity. WHO will enter into discussions with other interested countries and other mRNA technology recipients will be announced in the coming months.