With the attention now turning to Africa’s capacity to produce its own vaccines, Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) and its peers across the continent are now expected to play a leading role in growing the pharmaceutical sector in Africa.
As a result, BVI this past week announced that will construct a new blending and filling laboratory at an estimated of cost of P300 million. The lab is expected to provide additional space necessary to integrate other new products as per the increased needs of farmers in Botswana and the African market. The facility will also complement the existing recently developed Production laboratory in 2010 which will ensure a complete cycle of production of that meets the standard of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
BVI General Manager Andrew Madeswi stated that at BVI they are evolving from just being a vaccine supplier to today offering our complete solutions through their total customer value proposition. He added that they will seek to offer technical services pre-vaccination, vaccination strategy and also provide quality assurance post vaccination. He believes that through this total customer value proposition we will be able to truly help African countries unlock their livestock potential and bring return on investments for African farmers.
“In this capital-intensive industry BVI will going into future continually invest over the years to ensure that we keep abreast of stringent compliance requirements that are ever changing and also to keep ahead of our competitors. We have therefore fully immersed ourselves into leading the revolution to unlock Africa’s vast livestock potential through this investment estimated to cost over P 300 million,” said Madeswi.
He further stated that in order to define the requirements of the facility, the Institute has had to undertake several stages, adding that the first stage being Conceptual Design (Feasibility Studies). He said this was the phase which was critical to facilitate an assessment of the available capacities for utilities which enabled BVI to identify specific areas that would need an upgrade to accommodate the new blending and filling laboratory.
“The output of the conceptual design was a feeder to the undertaking of the next stage of basic design studies where various options were considered including the layout and configuration of the various operational process rooms,” he said.
Madeswi stated that detailed Design or Front-End Engineering Designs (FEED) was developed and its scope covered areas such as; technical specifications and sizing; preliminary drawings for most of the work packages; as well as construction drawings for the building.
The Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao stated that in the highly regulated sector, it is compelling that BVI continues to develop through investment in infrastructure to help it not only keep abreast with international pharmaceutical Standards but to position it well to compete Regionally and even Globally with other vaccine manufacturers. He said if they regard the container as phase 1, there was further a building constructed in 1981 (Phase 2) followed by another in 2010 (Phase 3). He added that the building that is about to be constructed with expected completion time of about 2024, will be phase 4 of the plant.
“In 2010, BVI launched its FMD production laboratory as a way of improving compliance to international production standards of Good Manufacturing Practice commonly known as GMP as well as increasing production capacity and to be prepared to offer emergency antigen banks for foot and mouth disease vaccines,” said Molao.
He stated that the new blending and filling laboratory will be the final piece in ensuring that full process of BVI production meets full compliance of GMP. He added that It is expected that this will open up new markets as well as give the Company added capacity to explore blending and filling of other vaccines hence increasing its product portfolio for farmers in Botswana as well as the continent.