Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Inactivated Polio Vaccines Production in Africa: Sanofi and Biovac Announce Strategic Partnership

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Sanofi and Biovac have announced a partnership to produce inactivated polio vaccines in Africa. This agreement aims to support regional manufacturing capabilities and meet the potential needs of over 40 African countries. With this collaboration, Biovac becomes the first African producer of inactivated polio vaccines on and for the African continent. This initiative aligns with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s goal to have 60 percent of local polio vaccines produced in Africa by 2040.

Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President of Vaccines at Sanofi, highlighted the importance of this partnership, stating, “For 40 years, Sanofi has supplied billions of polio vaccines doses globally, bringing us close to polio eradication. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many pediatric vaccination programs. Catching up is crucial to preventing a rise in cases worldwide. This partnership with Biovac is a step in that direction, establishing manufacturing capabilities for future international tenders.

“Dr. Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, expressed pride in the partnership, saying, “This collaboration with Sanofi empowers Biovac as an African manufacturer to champion polio eradication on the continent by bringing inactivated polio vaccines manufacturing closer to the people’s needs.”Sanofi has been a vital partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1988, providing over 1.5 billion doses of inactivated polio vaccines through GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Sanofi and Biovac Collaborate to Boost Inactivated Polio Vaccines Production for Africa

Sanofi will continue producing the bulk of inactivated polio vaccines, while Biovac, holding the marketing authorization, will handle the formulation, filling, packaging, and delivery of millions of inactivated polio vaccines doses to UNICEF for GAVI countries in Africa. Biovac, established in 2003 in collaboration with the South African government, is a leading biotechnology company specializing in vaccine development and manufacturing for Africa. Biovac aims to revive local human vaccine development and manufacturing capability in Southern Africa.

Polio is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects children under five, causing temporary or permanent paralysis and even death in severe cases. This viral infection has no cure and can only be prevented through effective immunization. Infected individuals shed the virus through fecal matter or respiratory droplets for several weeks, potentially spreading it to others. Despite almost 90 percent of infected individuals showing no symptoms or only mild symptoms, the severity of the disease is underscored by the fact that one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. This makes widespread immunization campaigns critical in controlling and eventually eradicating the disease.

Polio Vaccines

Global Polio Eradication Initiative Achieves 99% Reduction in Polio Cases

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has made significant strides in combating polio, immunizing 2.5 billion children over the past 30 years. These efforts have led to a remarkable 99 percent reduction in polio cases worldwide. By the end of 2023, the disease was endemic in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, indicating substantial progress. This global campaign has not only reduced the incidence of polio but has also saved nearly 20 million people from paralysis. The sustained commitment to vaccination and public health initiatives continues to be crucial in the final push towards the complete eradication of this debilitating disease.

Sanofi is an innovative global healthcare company, driven by the mission to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives. With a strong focus on transforming medical practices, Sanofi strives to make the impossible possible, bringing cutting-edge treatments and preventative measures to millions. The company’s portfolio includes life-changing treatments and life-saving vaccines that reach millions of people globally. Sanofi places a strong emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility, integrating these values into its overarching goals and operations. Their efforts not only aim to enhance healthcare outcomes but also to foster a more sustainable and equitable global health landscape.

 

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Resource: Sanofi, June 20, 2024

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