SOUTH KOREA – The World Health Organization (WHO), the Republic of Korea, and the WHO Academy have announced the creation of a global biomanufacturing training hub to serve all low- and middle-income countries.
The South Korean government has provided a large facility outside of Seoul that has been conducting biomanufacturing training for domestic companies and will expand to provide training for other countries seeking to produce vaccines, insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and cancer treatments.
Beginning in July, South Korea intends to train 370 professionals from Asia, Africa, and South America.
The move is being made following the successful establishment of a global mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa.
The WHO Academy and the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare will work together to develop a curriculum on general biomanufacturing and provide “technical and hands-on training on operational and good manufacturing practice requirements,” the WHO said in a statement.
The Republic of Korea’s government has offered a large facility outside of Seoul that is already carrying out biomanufacturing training for Korean companies and will now expand its operations to accommodate trainees from other countries.
The facility will provide technical and hands-on training on operational and good manufacturing practice requirements, complementing specific trainings developed by South Africa’s mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub.
“One of the key barriers to successful technology transfer in low- and middle-income countries is the lack of a skilled workforce and weak regulatory systems,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Building those skills will ensure that they can manufacture the health products they need at a good quality standard so that they no longer have to wait at the end of the queue.”
The World Health Organization Academy will collaborate with the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to create a comprehensive curriculum on general biomanufacturing.
“Just 60 years ago, Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world,” said Mr Kwon Deok-cheol, Minister of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea. “With the help and support of WHO and the international community, we have transitioned into a country with a strong public health system and bio-industry.”
Parallel to this, WHO is stepping up regulatory system strengthening through its Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT), a tool that assesses regulatory authorities’ maturity level.
The GBT will be the primary criterion used by WHO to include national regulators on the WHO-listed Authorities list.
Another goal is to establish a network of regional centers of excellence to serve as advisers and guides for countries with weaker regulatory systems.
WHO also announced it would expand support from its global messenger RNA technology transfer hub in South Africa to include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam.
These countries were vetted by a group of experts and demonstrated their ability to absorb technology and, with targeted training, move to the production stage relatively quickly.
Argentina and Brazil were the first Latin American countries to receive assistance from the South Africa Hub, and the WHO announced support for six African countries last week, including Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.