By Correspondent

A health expert has urged African countries to adopt a sub regional or continental collaboration approach in developing Covid-19 and other vaccines.

Patrick Osewe, chief of the Health Sector Group at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that developing a vaccine is costly and therefore it is important that nations put their funds together for the course.

“Production of vaccines requires a massive investment in human resources and application of technology to succeed hence the need for partnership,” Osewe tells journalists in Nairobi.

Osewe observes that since the lifespan of Covid-19 may be definitely coming to an end the nations should consider re-purposing the capacity of manufacturing plants to producing other much needed vaccines.

The expert adds that the nations should also start considering developing a network of scientists that can help them share information at different stages.

He notes that even though Covid-19 outbreak and spread is a wakeup call to African nations to begin to develop their own vaccines, there is a need to assemble state of the art laboratories, engage highly skilled human resources.

Noting that the development and release of a vaccine takes seven years, Osewe says that it is the responsibility of governments to allocate required funding for the development of the vaccines since the research capacity in the field of vaccine development is still limited in the continent.

He suggests to the nations to consider partnering with countries from European, Asian continents and universities that are already producing vaccines.

Osewe says that the nations need to first develop animal facilities to test immune response before rolling to human trials.

He emphasises the need to start engagement with communities and health professionals early to understand what is being developed to avoid hesitancy when finally the vaccines are out.

He says that even though vaccines are very safe for use, there is need to create awareness amongst populations and health professionals on its safety prior to the release for use.

Osewe adds that manufacturing of the vaccines in the continent currently stands at one percent but there is an urgent need to increase the figure since the population is young and therefore need long term intervention in management of diseases.