President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Seoul, South Korea, expressed Nigeria’s readiness to become a global hub for sustainable manufacturing and distribution of vaccine and biological pharmaceuticals to support initiatives to keep all of mankind safe.
The president also called for the speedy take-off of local production of mRNA vaccines, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) selected Nigeria as one of six African countries to receive technology needed to produce the vaccines.
Addressing the World Bio Summit 2022, the Nigerian leader in a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, pledged commitment to global response to known or emerging pathogens, including the global vaccine assurance ecosystem and equitable access for all.
He told the meeting jointly convened by the Government of South Korea and WHO to discuss the future of vaccines and Bio-Health across the globe that Nigeria would continue to explore bilateral, multilateral and other opportunities for cutting-edge technology as a centre of excellence for vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
“As the mRNA technology allows science to shift attention to yet unknown disease threats, we see opportunities to address diseases that have plagued sub-Saharan Africa and third world countries for centuries.
“We believe biomedical scientists can dream of ending the scourge of Malaria, Ebola, Lassa fever and various endemic neglected tropical diseases through development and manufacture of efficacious and affordable vaccines and therapeutics.
“Nigeria invites partners ready to support efforts towards the entire value chain of vaccine technology development in our continent, to consider working with us in Nigeria,” he said.
Noting that ongoing conversations on the future of vaccines tend to support the decentralization of capacity to produce essential materials to respond globally to pandemics, President Buhari expressed Nigeria’s preference for a global warehousing and supply chain strategy to attend to the needs of most countries.
“We believe that this concept makes sense and we fully endorse the wisdom of strategic and balanced spread of critical manufacturing capacity and essential stockpiles across the globe,” he said.
The President, therefore, declared that Nigeria is ready and able to offer itself for this initiative, due to its strategic geographical location, strength of economy and market size derived from a population of over 214 million people.
He added that Nigeria’s comparative advantage is also supported from her experience in human and animal vaccine production record since 1924, when colonial authorities produced WHO-certified smallpox, yellow fever and anti-rabies vaccines locally – a technology that has been improved upon and being used in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria.
The high quality of current academic and research work and potential in Nigeria is also note-worthy, he said.