As the world continues to rely on United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and China for COVID-19 cure, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), disclosed Nigeria is getting closer to being a manufacturer of vaccines as well.
This was revealed by the Director-General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, who said Nigeria is aiming for a level three stage which will enable the country to manufacture its vaccines, as Nigeria is adhering to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global benchmarking and adopting international best practices.
Adeyeye said NAFDAC has upgraded its laboratories to international standards using equipment that are compliant to ISO 17025. She further disclosed that a new lab, Yaba Biologies and Vaccines Lab, has been accredited, while two other labs will be accredited very soon.
“NAFDAC is a leading national regulator in Africa. The Agency is driven by international standards and best practices.
“Our new normal started three years ago when we started quality management system that now makes us to focus more on the customers, the image of the organisation in order to ensure that we are a standard operating procedure-driven organisation. This led us to achieving ISO 9001 in 2019 June. We moved on to the global benchmarking where we adopted international best practices and we are still adopting international best practices.
“With regards to the establishment of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) global benchmarking and adoption of international best practices, we want to get to maturity level three so that Nigeria can manufacture her own vaccines, and we are all working on this every day.
“We are upgrading the agency’s laboratories to international standards using equipment that are compliant to ISO 17025. NAFDAC laboratories are changing very rapidly with improvements in new equipment and supplies.
“Our four laboratories that were accredited before I came have received re-accreditation. We have also gotten a new lab – the Yaba Biologies and Vaccines Lab accredited for the first time. And our two other labs will be accredited very soon.
“In similar efforts to enhance the local production of pharmaceuticals in Nigeria, the agency has renewed and updated its 5 + 5 validity policy because we want local content. We want more local manufacturing – to reverse it from 70 percent imports to 70 percent locally manufactured products.
“We are building traceability because our supply chain is chaotic to say the least. Now we have adopted traceability of track and trace that will make sure that the products that leave the manufacturers site is what the patient is taking. This is a technologically-driven initiative, and NAFDAC is the second country in Africa to adopt this. We are using this for covid-19 vaccines when they come.
“NAFDAC is leading on the continent in terms of ensuring that the covid-19 vaccines can be tracked and traced to the patients and also adverse long reactions can be monitored. This is our new normal and it is because we are changing the way we think because we want to safeguard the health of our people.”
Vaccine Creation In Nigeria Could Be A Game Changer
Adeyeye’s statement comes amid distribution of COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech. Nigeria is yet to take possession of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the US have began testing the vaccine on their citizens.
Note that manufacturing of vaccines within Nigeria will result into a source of revenue for the country, and also create job opportunities for its citizens, as Nigeria’s Research & Development (R&D) for healthcare is poor – causing a large number of University graduates unemployed or underemployed.
Already, both Pfizer and BioNTech are tipped to earn about $13 billion from the COVID-19 vaccines – this is a major revenue boosted for both Pharmaceutical companies. Also, it was estimated that about $32 billion will be grossed by Pfizer and Moderna (another manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines) from their vaccines in 2021 alone.
These vaccines will also be shipped outside the United States and UK, as almost, if not all countries are already or planning to apply for the vaccines. The export of the vaccines is a plus to the manufacturing countries, as high demand increases job creation in that field, and grows revenue.
If the COVID-19 vaccines were created in Nigeria, this financial and job benefits will be a major booster for the country’s economy amid recession.