a year ago

Welcome foreign collaboration in vaccine research

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One of the country's leading pharmaceutical companies, Incepta, is learnt to have been visited by a research team from Imperial College London (ICL). The purpose of such visit is concentrated around what could possibly lead to research collaboration on vaccines in the future. The research team has expressed interest in conducting research on replicating and/or non-replicating mRNA vaccines at the mentioned company's facilities. This could open up future collaboration on a wide range of vaccines. Indeed, one of the ICL researchers has already aided Incepta to develop protein subunit vaccine. ICL is working with a number of pharmaceutical companies worldwide to build platforms for production of vaccines designed to serve the health needs of lower middle-income countries such as Bangladesh. Given that some scientists of the drugmaker in question have already received training from ICL, it is hoped that this relationship will move forward to actual research, development and production of much-needed vaccines in the country.

The importance of this development can in no way be understated. That a Bangladeshi company has been selected on the merit of having adopted cutting-edge manufacturing processes and developing original formulas for medication is something to be emulated by other pharmaceutical companies. This could very well be the first step towards the manufacture of basic materials (seeds) of vaccines in Bangladesh. With the company now involved in developing therapeutic vaccines, public health can only be benefitted. The idea is to have modular vaccine manufacturing for the mass vaccination campaigns a densely-populated country like ours runs.

A partnership at this level could very well open the door to have technology transfer to develop and produce vaccines in a manner so as to be ready for quick rollout in the event that there is a virus outbreak. The benefits of having such systems and production capabilities are obvious. However, for them to function optimally, there are challenges involved. Optimal operational efficiency is a must to reduce costs, both in production (maintaining quality) and engineering (formulation, packaging, etc.). The collaborative effort shall aim to introduce process intensification with the aim to reduce cost and improve responsiveness in the manufacture of vaccines.

Challenges notwithstanding, the said pharmaceutical company has shown promise in research and development in various types of vaccines that can help in the fight against two types of cancer. That the company is showing promise in the manufacture of innovative vaccines using internationally-recognised quality standards and has other products in the pipeline, is perhaps why ICL was drawn to its partnership. A strong distribution network and an ability to continually strive to introduce new vaccines have perhaps opened the door for the Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industry as a whole to make its mark in the global arena of vaccines. One can only hope that there will be further international tie-ups with other pharmaceutical companies in the country to help the world fight global health threats such as influenza, hepatitis, rabies, etc.

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