AFRICA – Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has made known plans to establish a vaccine manufacturing plant in Africa in its global expansion strategy.
The Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by the number of doses produced and sold globally including Polio vaccine, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella as well as Pneumococcal and COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute are accredited by the World Health Organization, Geneva and are being used in around 170 countries across the globe in their national immunization programs, saving millions of lives throughout the world.
SII manufactures highly specialized lifesaving biologicals like vaccines using cutting edge genetic and cell-based technologies, antisera and other medical specialties. It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute.
The vaccine giant is expected to invest over US$300 million for setting up the vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa after its success in selling COVID-19 shots.
The African plant seeks to address challenges Africa faced during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years since the region was the only continent that did not have its own manufacturing capacity for COVID shots leaving it at the mercy of suppliers from overseas.
In addition , establishing new pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities to produce the COVID-19 shots and other vaccines in Africa is crucial to ensure Africa has needed vaccine doses and better therapeutics to protect the people in the African continent against future variants and future pandemics.
“It’s never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I’m looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe. There are some great countries out there like South Africa and Rwanda to name a few that we’re looking at,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said.
CEO Adar Poonawalla revealed that he was meeting some African officials at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland which brings leaders and experts together from around the world to discuss his plans.
Poonawalla further disclosed that he hopes to circulate a draft of a global pandemic treaty that would ensure more equitable access to vital healthcare during closed-door meetings on the World Economic Forum’s 2022 meet in Davos to address the shortcomings of vaccine production and rollout globally.
The draft recommends free flow of raw materials and vaccines, sharing of intellectual property on a commercial basis that rewards the innovator, a global agreement of regulatory standards, universal travel vaccine certificates on a digital platform among other key issues.
Moreover, Serum Institute of India plans to launch an India-made cervical cancer vaccine that will be available by November when the vaccine manufacturer launches its Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (qHPV) inoculation.
The manufacturer has also partnered with Symbiosis International University to set up an early Research and Development centre for vaccines and biologicals in a move to improve immunization coverage and vaccine equity.
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