IVI conducts on-site training, consultation for Afrigen in South Africa

Provides training for about 40 Afrigen personnel on overall biopharmaceutical production as part of GTH-B program. 

IVI conducted on-site consultation for Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines (Afrigen) at the company’s headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa on December 7 – 8. (Credit: IVI)

December 13, 2022, SEOUL, Republic of Korea — The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) conducted on-site training and consultation for Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines (Afrigen) in South Africa to help strengthen the company’s manufacturing capacity as part of the Global Training Hub for Biomanufacturing (GTH-B) program.

The on-site training took place for about 40 of Afrigen’s biopharmaceutical production personnel at Afrigen headquarters in Cape Town on November 29 – December 1, and the on-site consultation for the company’s various departments and production processes happened on December 7 – 8.

The training led by a team of senior IVI scientists provided education on overall production, including vaccine technology transfer, manufacturing-related biosafety, quality management system, and good laboratory practice (GLP). Also, the on-site consultation session offered in-depth counseling throughout the manufacturing process, including manufacturing technology and process development, equipment validation, and quality analysis.

“Development of a competent and skilled workforce for end-to-end vaccine manufacturing is a critical success factor for the mRNA Hub as we are preparing for GMP manufacturing and technology transfer of mRNA vaccine production processes to the network of Spokes in the WHO mRNA Hub program. The vast experience and multidisciplinary team of specialists from IVI contributed significantly to our relatively young workforce’s training,” said by Prof. Petro Terblanche, Managing Director of Afrigen.

Additionally, the training course provided an opportunity for Africa, IVI, and companies to build cooperative relationships including collaboration in establishing global vaccine hubs, and a venue for discussion about research and development partnerships.

The on-site training activities were conducted as part of the GTH-B program and was funded by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. Last February, Korea was designated by the World Health Organization as GTH-B, which aims to support countries trying to fill resource gaps in biomanufacturing, particularly skilled, trained personnel, and IVI was named an operator of global biomanufacturing training courses by the Ministry and has been conducting a series of training courses. On-site training and consultation are a key part of the GTH-B program, and the Afrigen training is the second activity of its kind conducted by IVI after Incepta in Bangladesh last July.

Amidst severe vaccine supply inequality due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO designated South Africa as the first mRNA technology transfer hub in June 2021 to help expand local production of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals.

Afrigen was selected by the WHO as the hub in 2021 and the consortium came together in July 2021 under ‘mRNA Technology Transfer Hub Programme’ and is collaborating with governments and organizations worldwide to secure manufacturing facility and capacity for mRNA vaccine. Founded in 2014, Afrigen focuses on the production of biologics, vaccines, and adjuvants.

Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) aims to produce 60% of the vaccines needed in Africa locally by 2040.

“As an international organization devoted to vaccines for global health, IVI is committed to support efforts to create sustainable, high-quality local production of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals in Africa as we implement the GTH-B program on behalf of the Republic of Korea,” said Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI. “IVI will continue to provide crucial assistance to African partners to  help increase local manufacturing of vaccines in the continent in collaboration with Korea, the WHO and other partners.”

About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.

IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is currently under assessment for WHO PQ.

IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland provide state funding. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.