SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

OIC countries consider self-reliance in vaccine production

The Organization of Islamic Conference member countries are considering an attempt to become self-reliant in vaccine production, Indonesian vaccine supplier PT Bio Farma announced on Monday.

The member countries discussed the topic during a meeting of OIC vaccine and medicine manufacturers in Bandung, Indonesia. Officials and vaccine experts from nine OIC member countries with vaccine companies out of the 57 member countries attended the workshop between Sunday and Wednesday.

"Among Islamic countries, only Indonesia through Bio Farma has the capacity as vaccine producer and can export its products, thus (Indonesia) is self-reliant in vaccine," Mohammd Razley, OIC's director general for science and technology, said.

Razley said that OIC countries can become more self-reliant by purchasing vaccines for their own people.

Lucky Slamet, the head of the Indonesian Agency for Food and Drug Control, said that national regulatory agencies have a key role in guaranteeing vaccine quality. Slamet said Indonesia is willing to share its experience in improving RNA functions in relation to vaccine manufacturing.

"The (World Health Organization) has declared us, the Indonesian National Agency of Food and Drug Control, to have performed an international standard control function, in particular, on vaccine," Slamet said. "With this achievement, Indonesia now has a wide opportunity - through Bio Farma - to export its products to international markets. Out of the total 57 OIC member states only five countries having their vaccine manufacturers and out of this five only one that can export its products, namely Bio Farma."

Muhammed Mahesar, an OIC steering committee representative on scientific technology development from Pakistan, praised the meeting for its strengthening of collaboration between OIC member states on the manufacturing of vaccines.

Bio Farma's products were first recognized by the WHO as meeting safety standards in 1997. The vaccine supplier exports its products to more than 120 countries worldwide.

The OIC is the second largest intergovernmental organization in the world, after the United Nations, and has membership of 57 states across four continents.