WHO and the Republic of Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a global training hub in biomanufacturing. This global training centre will serve all low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to produce biologicals, such as vaccines, insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and cancer medicines.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to expand the local and regional production of vaccines and other essential health products in LMICs to ensure equitable access.
To provide countries with the know-how to rapidly produce mRNA vaccines, WHO, in collaboration with partners, established the mRNA Technology Transfer programme, with the formal inauguration of the Hub facility in South Africa in April 2023.
This multilateral effort and other recent local production initiatives call for ambitious workforce development strategies to recruit, upskill and retain the staff working at these facilities, with unique competencies required in bioproduction.
To address this gap, WHO and the Republic of Korea have engaged in closed collaboration for over a year and are now formalizing their commitment towards the establishment of a global training hub in biomanufacturing.
“We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding to elevate our partnership to the next level and collaborate in the development of a comprehensive training curriculum. We hope this world-class training hub will help to build a skilled workforce and ensure quality health products can be manufactured around the world,” said Dr Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General, Access to Medicines and Health Products.
The Government of the Republic of Korea is offering a large range of national training facilities and programmes covering the full spectrum of biological manufacturing and is expanding its operations to accommodate more trainees from other countries with the construction of a Global Bio Education Campus to be launched in 2025.
“I hope this Memorandum of Understanding will enhance cooperation between the Republic of Korea and WHO to strengthen biomanufacturing capacities of LMICs,” said Mr Hwang Seunghyun Director General, Global Vaccine Hub Office at the Ministry of Health and Welfare from Republic of Korea.
In parallel, WHO is intensifying regulatory system strengthening to ensure the quality and safety of health products. Stronger regulatory agencies will also enhance confidence in locally produced products and counter misinformation and the availability of unsafe substandard or falsified medicines.