Vaccine Production: Dhaka to join int’l institute to build capacity
Faced with limited resources in research against infectious diseases like Covid-19, Bangladesh has decided to join Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute to build the capacity to produce vaccines locally.
The country is among the 36 signatories to the founding charter of IVI when the non-profit organisation was established in 1997, but has yet to ratify it, said health ministry officials.
"We are a member of the organisation. We have decided to ratify in the shortest possible time and initiatives were taken in this regard," Health Minister Zahid Maleque told The Daily Star.
The ratification will pave the way to facilitate the production of new vaccines in the country through the transfer of new technology, the health minister said.
He also said the ratification will boost technical assistance and training in vaccine production and research in Bangladesh.
The country's Covid-19 vaccination campaign relies on foreign sources and the government has so far inoculated less than three percent of the population due to shortage of vaccine doses.
In late June, Korean ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-Keun called on the health minister at the latter's office and requested the minister to facilitate Bangladesh's cooperation with the IVI.
Launched with a vision to discover, develop and deliver safe, effective and affordable vaccines for global public health, the IVI has been supporting Bangladesh in combating infectious diseases for over a decade.
At least 58 Bangladeshi researchers and medical professionals have successfully completed the annual IVI International Vaccinology Course, according to the IVI website.
It focuses on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, Covid-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance.
The organisation's mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world's most vulnerable people.
The IVI website says, "As Covid-19 continues to disrupt communities around the world, IVI remains committed to our mission to protect the world's most vulnerable people from vaccine-preventable diseases by developing safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health. We do this for diseases like cholera and typhoid, as well as emerging infectious diseases."
Bangladesh is a founding signatory to IVI's Establishment Agreement, the 1996 UN treaty that established IVI as an independent international organisation dedicated to vaccine research and development and strengthening vaccine technology capacity in developing countries.
The IVI Agreement remains open for accession by any state or intergovernmental organisation. It has 36 signatory states and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty. The state funders include Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland.