Developing countries face tough challenges in vaccine manufacture

Admin | Jumat, 2 November 2012

Developing countries are still encountering tough challenges in terms of human resources, infrastructure and equipment costs in developing vaccines, although there have been a lot of significant improvements made over the past years. During the ongoing conference of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) in Kuta, experts highlighted that there were still some crucial issues that countries had to overcome in order to be able to meet vaccine good manufacturing practices (GMP). Developing countries canÔÇÖt rely on resources they used 20 to 30 years ago. Technology is beyond that, and if we look at the vaccine producers in the western world, their universities put graduates into field specialization, David Buckley, a GMP expert, said. Another huge challenge is that infrastructure and equipment costs are higher than you normally expect. Payback on your investment takes a lot longer than in other industries, he said, citing as an example that US$10 to 50 million would only be enough for one very basic vaccine manufacturing facility. He continued, saying that the challenge of meeting GMP also arose because the guidelines published by the authorities were not always clear and detailed. Sometimes there are individual interpretations by the experts, which means we could invest two or three years plus a lot of money but then find that something needs to be redone. In vaccine manufacturing, you might start with the initial product, but the vaccine will only go to market two or three years later because you have a lot of testing and holding time. Even Indonesia, which had been considered a leading vaccine manufacturer among developing countries worldwide, still needed to improve, he said, while the countryÔÇÖs universities should be able to produce graduates who understood the concepts of biotechnology, engineering and production. Indonesia is running out of qualified people. Bio Farma, the countryÔÇÖs sole vaccine manufacturer, relies on a group of people with pharmacy training and industry experience. But biotechnology is changing so fast, and we need specialists, experts on certain subjects. For the long term, Indonesia should start heading in that direction now, with expectations of what these people will become. He highlighted that developing countries had to become selfreliant in producing vaccines because many of the developed countries were not manufacturing what developing countries did, because the profit margin was not big. If we donÔÇÖt have developing countries with their own vaccine supply, you will find the vaccine costs become unaffordable for ordinary people. So for humanitarian and societal needs, we need to have developing countries with their own vaccine networks. He continued further, saying that Indonesia had a huge opportunity because it was the only Islamic country with WHO prequalification standard. ThereÔÇÖs no other Islamic country that has vaccine manufacturing acknowledged by WHO at international level. ItÔÇÖs a huge opportunity for the country to explore. Rachman Roestam, corporate secretary of Indonesian vaccine manufacturer Bio Farma, shared similar views, saying that Indonesia still depended on equipment from developed countries, and that its human resources still had to improve their competitiveness. Bio Farma, which has produced 11 types of vaccines, has exported its products to 117 countries, making it one of the largest exporters of vaccines in the developing world. The company is trusted by many countries because of the high quality of its products. sumber :

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