Egypt received the first batch of raw materials, on Friday, to start domestically manufacturing the Sinovac vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The step comes as Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed met, on Saturday, with a delegation of experts from the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
The meeting, which took place at the headquarters of the Holding Company For Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), came in preparation for the start of production.
The meeting dealt with ways of cooperating with the Chinese delegation in the production of vaccines and transferring their expertise to VACSERA. The transfer of expertise would cover the fields of production, control, quality, and registration, in addition to training the VACSERA employees on the stages of production.
Egypt expects to produce 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine by the end of June, in a first batch. The Chinese experts will work in Egypt for up to three weeks, until the completion of the production of this first batch of Sinovac vaccine.
The Ministry of Health and Population explained, in a statement, that the process of producing vaccines goes through several stages. It starts with conducting raw material analyses in Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) laboratories, before moving on to the packaging and approval stages, and carrying out stability studies.
Doses will also be subject to analysis in EDA laboratories to ensure their safety and efficacy upon completion of manufacturing.
Zayed confirmed the ability and readiness of VACSERA’s factories to produce vaccines against the coronavirus. She has also held periodic and successive meetings with VACSERA regarding the manufacture of the vaccine, to follow up on the progress of work, and to overcome any challenges.
She added that VACSERA is expected to be the main manufacturer of the Chinese vaccine in Africa. The government has allocated the company EGP 750m with which to produce vaccines and upgrade labs.
Also present at the meeting were: EDA head Tamer Essam; Mohamed Hassani, Assistant Minister of Health and Population for Public Health Initiatives; and Heba Wali, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Vacsera.