ISLAMABAD, Mar 15 (APP): Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood Tuesday acknowledging the NIH’s efforts for completing a holistic mapping of indigenous capacity in vaccine manufacturing, called for promoting local production of medical biotechnology products in Pakistan.
The foreign secretary, addressing the second meeting of the Working Group on International Cooperation and Partnerships in Vaccine Production, said the completion of a holistic mapping by the NIH was one of the key objectives of the Working Group mechanism.
Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Executive Director National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Dr. Aamer Ikram co-chaired the meeting.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the recent announcement by WHO regarding approval of Pakistan’s Expression of Interest (EOI) to seek technology transfer and technical support under the COVAX initiative of the WHO.
The foreign secretary also stressed the need to look beyond the pandemic and use this opportunity to promote the local production of medical biotechnology products in Pakistan.
Executive Director of NIH Professor Dr. Aamer Ikram informed the participating stakeholders on the main takeaways from the mapping and status of ongoing projects at NIH focused on vaccine manufacturing.
He also underscored the necessity of continued up-gradation of manufacturing and regulatory systems for increasing the scope of indigenous vaccine production and local pharmaceutical products.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representatives to WHO Ambassador Khalil Hashmi and WTO Dr. Mujtaba Piracha updated the participants on various work streams at the WTO, including ongoing discussions on patent waivers.
The participants exchanged views on further engagement with WHO for the materialization of WHO’s offer.
The meeting was attended by high-level representatives of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination; Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan(DRAP); National Command and Operation Centre(NCOC); Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Commerce; Higher Education Commission(HEC),Intellectual Property Organization Pakistan, OIC Standing Committee on S&T (COMSTECH)and research organizations from the public sector in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) joined the meeting virtually.