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Feb 24, 2022 / 14:50

Vietnam to receive WHO’s mRNA vaccine production technology transfer

Vietnam will be able to mass produce the mRNA vaccine, not only for domestic consumption but also for other countries in the region and the world.

Vietnam is one of the five countries that have been selected for mRNA vaccine production technology transfer by the World Health Organization (WHO), which was announced by the organization at a press conference held virtually on February 23 night.

The technology transfer of mRNA vaccine production has been carried out in a global bio-manufacturing training hub established by WHO in South Africa in June 2021.

Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Serbia will receive support from the global mRNA center in South Africa, WHO said, adding that these countries had the capacity to absorb the technology.

 An overview of the press conference. Photo: Tran Minh

WHO also announced the establishment of a similar hub in the South Korea. The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to support manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and know-how to manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.

At the press conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 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, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added.

For his part, Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that though Vietnam is a developing country, its health sector has had a lot of experience in vaccine development over the past decades.

 Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks while joining the virtual press conference. Photo: Tran Minh

 

“Our National Regulatory Authority (NRA) has also been recognized by WHO. We believe that by participating in this initiative, Vietnam will be able to produce the mRNA vaccine, not only for domestic consumption but also for other countries in the region and the world, contributing to reducing inequalities in access to vaccines,” Long said.

Six days ago, WHO announced six African countries (Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia) and two Latin American nations (Argentina and Brazil) which have been selected as first recipients in their continents of mRNA technology from the global hub in South Africa.

These countries qualified for technology transfer after being evaluated through an expert group. Training of the first recipients will begin in March 2022.

WHO's mRNA technology transfer hub is part of a larger effort aimed at empowering low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage.

WHO said it is currently prioritizing countries that do not have mRNA technology but already have some manufacturing infrastructure and capacity. It will enter into discussions with other interested countries. Other mRNA technology recipients will be announced in the coming months.

Depending on the infrastructure, workforce and clinical research and regulatory capacity in place, WHO and partners will work with the beneficiary countries to develop a roadmap and put in place the necessary training and support so that they can start producing vaccines as soon as possible.