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Buhari canvasses support for mRNA vaccine production

President Muhammadu Buhari says he welcomes the exploratory interactions between Nigerian biomedical scientists, officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and BioNTech company, to support the production of messenger RNA vaccines in Nigeria.

He made this known in Abuja, while receiving the Executive Chairman of KENUP Foundation, Mr Holm Keller, and representative of the Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech, the mRNA vaccine patent holder, in Africa.

The President expressed confidence that the interactions between the parties would be productive, leading to collaborations at many levels, from clinical trials to research and development of new vaccines, and eventually support vaccine manufacturing facilities in the country.

‘‘We are impressed with the numerous possibilities said to be around the mRNA technology and hence seek cooperation with well-intentioned organization, including yours, to build a strong bilateral partnership with your company and your affiliate bodies, as science gets closer to understanding the possibilities around successful mRNA technology we believe the mRNA technology will help solve other public health challenges too, especially those peculiar to our tropical environment”

The President also used the occasion to highlight the many investment opportunities in the country, urging the Foundation and other prospective investors to pay special attention to Africa’s most populous country.

‘‘We have a vibrant Health Ethics Research Council and our WHO Maturity Level 3 certified Regulatory body, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control regulates vaccines, and have started the process to attain Maturity Level Four, that makes pharmaceutical products made in Nigeria, including vaccines, marketable abroad.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said President Buhari had passion for public health security, hence receiving the team, which wants to explore possibilities of collaboration in manufacture of new vaccines.

Mr Holm Keller also described his organization as a public-benefit foundation dedicated to innovation in public health.

Mr Keller said he was thrilled to learn of the great work President Buhari and his administration had done for Nigeria, and that the aim of their mission was to establish research partnerships, which will benefit Nigeria and Africa.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Hadiza Abdulrahman