Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo says neither his Authority nor the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) dropped requirements for products during the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to George Wiafe on PM Express Business Edition, he stated that although the world was in search of a vaccine to save many lives, both Authorities did not loosen their grip just to find vaccines against the virus.
The two Authorities he said were hell bent to ensure the issue of duplication and redundancy was addressed.
“We didn’t drop any standards. The Food and Drugs Authority did not drop any requirements, we worked with them to develop these standards for the facemask. We tested together. Here is what Covid-19 taught us. There was too much duplication and redundancy that in the pre Covid world, we had gotten comfortable so we put there just to make ‘yeye’.
“Covid-19 taught us to be efficient so indeed, drug development, vaccine development, product development in the post- Covid-19 world would never be the same. We noticed that we needed to be agile, adapt to the situation. What did we. Previously, you will develop a vaccine then when it works, you look for a packaging material, labelling.”
According to him, the GSA and FDA have been doing an incredible work. Professor Alex Dodoo hailed President Akufoo-Addo for his comments on the country’s need to produce its own vaccine to fight the deadly virus.
He noted that even though its was speculated that producing vaccines could take a number of years and there could be manufacturing risks, the president took a political risk to have confidence in his local team.
“President Akufo-Addo did one thing nobody has done in my professional life. He went forward and said I will take any bullet but we will manufacture vaccines. That is a powerful statement and he was focused not just for Covid but all diseases,” he said.
He therefore urged all to applaud the actions of the President.
On the creation of local Covid-19 vaccines, Dr Dodoo indicated that before the end of the year, government would communicate to members of the general public on its plans to manufacture its own Covid-19 vaccines to assist the country attain herd immunity.
Government has committed US$25million for the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the manufacture of vaccines to meet national and regional needs.
The President announced this in his 26th update on measures implemented to combat the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, July 25.
According to him, the establishment of the institute is based on a recommendation by a committee chaired by Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, which was tasked to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub.
President Akufo-Addo said, the Institute will be charged with delivering six clear mandates; establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants, deepening Research and Development (R&D) for vaccines in Ghana and upgrading and strengthening the FDA.
The rest are; forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine manufacturing in various areas, such as funding, clinical trials, technology transfer, licensing, and assignment of intellectual property rights, building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture, and establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture.
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