A firm working towards the production of local COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, BioVaccine Nigeria Limited, on Thursday said it would take between three and four years for it to come up with one.
The firm’s spokesman, Mr. Everest Okeakpu, disclosed this in a telephone interview. He said;
“BioVaccine Nigeria Limited is designing a greenfield facility for the manufacture of Nigeria’s childhood immunisation vaccines.
“When the facility is ready, it will also be possible to manufacture some COVID-19 vaccines there. Already, Environmental Impact Assessment study is ongoing.
“It will usually take about three to four years to go through facility construction and equipment procurement; facility and equipment installation, launching and qualification; process optimisation and media fill validation; facility certification; process validation and product registration.”
When asked if his disclosure meant that Nigerians shouldn’t be expecting a local vaccine from the facility anytime soon, Okeakpu said, “No, not immediately. But if we make the required investments today, then we shall be ready for this and any other future pandemics.”
Meanwhile, Director of the African Centre for Disease Control, Dr. John Nkengasong, during the weekly press briefing on the continent’s response to the pandemic, said the continent was likely to experience a vaccination gap.
Recall that the major supplier of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVAX facility, Serum Institute of India, disclosed its plan to suspend vaccine supply due to the rising cases in India.
Nkengasong said on Thursday that the only vaccine Africa had hopes of getting would be the J and J from the AVATT facility due to arrive in August.
He, however, hoped that positive signals from countries like the United States and France, who had acquired large quantities of vaccine, would be of help to the continent.