KEMRI Biovax partnership to foster vaccine manufacturing in the country

KEMRI DG Elijah Songok and Biovax DG Michael Lusiola after the MoU signing ./COURTESY

Kenya will soon start manufacturing its own vaccine.

This is after the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) partnered with Kenya Biovax Institute to start the manufacture of human vaccines in the country.

Speaking during the signing of the MoU signing, KEMRI Ag.CEO Elijah Songok said through the partnership, KEMRI will be carrying out research and development of vaccines while Kenya Biovax will handle the production and commercialisation of the vaccines.

“For us in KEMRI, we have been discovering drugs, discovering vaccines, discovering diagnostics but some of these have been made by companies outside Kenya. So this is a very momentous occasion because now the things we are discovering can be made locally by our own which is Kenya Biovax,” said Songok.

KEMRI and Kenya Biovax board members./COURTESY

Speaking during the event, Kenya Biovax Chair Mugo Kibati said “We as Biovax are now at the nascent stages of putting up a facility in Embakasi to manufacture vaccines and we look forward to benefitting from the research of KEMRI.

Kenya Biovax Director General Dr. Michael Lusioli said locally manufacturing vaccines will ensure the country is prepared in case of another pandemic pr epidemic.

“We learnt a lot from the pandemic, we struggled in terms of the high coast of health commodities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya as a country struggled to get vaccines for our people, so this is an opportunity for us to be able to develop self sufficiency in terms of vaccines,” said Dr Lusioli.

Through local manufacturing of the vaccines, KEMRI and Kenya Biovax hope to bridge the gap left behind by Gavi once they pull out funding in 2027.

“We are working very hard to ensure that by the time the co-financing by Gavi, the co-financing by the UNICEF support is weaning out, we as Biovax working together will be ready to step in and continue supplying these important childhood vaccines,” said the Kenya Biovax DG.

KEMRI will also be working to improve different vaccines like the Malaria vaccine to increase its efficacy.