COVID-19: Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd. Attends mRNA Technology Transfer Hub Training Alongside 14 Other Manufacturers


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL) and 14 other manufacturers will receive support from the mRNA technology transfer programme. This information was disclosed in a statement on Tuesday.

The BVNL is currently a joint venture between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), and the May & Baker Nigeria Plc (MBN). It was incorporated in 2005 as the Special Purpose Vehicle to revive the production of vaccines within the country. The company shares are owned 51 per cent by MBN and 49 per cent by the Nigerian government.

BVNL builds upon its parent company’s strengths of vertical integration with enriched experience and expertise in setting up state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities dedicated to developing and producing essential and novel vaccines and a proven track-record of supporting healthcare in Nigeria. In 2021, WHO decided that four countries in Africa would go into the production of the COVID-19 vaccine and Nigeria happened to be one of those countries. This is why BVNL, Nigeria’s manufacturer, will be receiving support from the mRNA technology transfer programme.

The programme is based around a technology transfer “hub” called “Afrigen:, which is located in South Africa. The recipients of the technology, in both low and middle-income countries, will receive training and technology from the hub and then produce and sell products commercially.

“This global initiative, supported by WHO, MPP and partners, is designed to encourage the sustainable development of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics against COVID-19 and other diseases that threaten low- and middle-income countries. So far, there are 15 selected recipients of the mRNA technology through the WHO hub. Last week, a vaccine manufacturer from Indonesia, government-owned Biofarma, completed its technology transfer training at Afrigen. In March, Bio-Manguinhos from Brazil and Sinergium Biotech from Argentina received the technology transfer training at Afrigen,” the statement read.

Dr. Mohamed M. Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture, and Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, respectively in their submissions said that the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) is already well positioned for Human COVID-19 vaccine production. According to Dr. Ehanire, the Federal Government used to produced vaccines in Yaba, Lagos State, but the facility had been shutdown since 1992 for renovation and was later abandoned completely. He added that this was probably due to so much oil money Nigeria was making then and much emphasis was placed on importation rather than looking inward to produce locally. “And so the facility was abandoned because we didn’t know we would one day need that facility,” he said.