Dr Nkhwachi Gondwe-Mphepo, acting director of African Union-Centre for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, Malawi, standing next to the lyophilising machine which is one of the pieces of equipment which the Centre has just received from GALVmed
For GALVmed and its partners one of the pressing priorities is to secure a sustainable source of quality-assured East Coast fever vaccine. For years an interim solution had been found whereby the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) manufactured the vaccine, but this could only ever be a stop-gap as this work is outside of ILRI’s core remit.
In late 2008 GALVmed, in partnership with the newly established East Coast Fever Task Force chaired by AU-IBAR, put out an invitation to tender for the production of the ECF vaccine.
The tender process resulted in the African Union-Centre for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, (AU-CTTBD), based in Lilongwe, Malawi, being invited to manufacture the East Coast fever vaccine.
As part of it remit of making vaccines available, GALVmed builds capacity in suitable institutions. This is seen is seen as a critical part of the long-term sustainability strategy. So a needs assessment of AU-CTTBD was undertaken from which a number of priorities emerged.
A broad range of capacity building measures have been undertaken and more are planned to enable the Centre to manufacture and supply a quality-assured ECF vaccine throughout the region, in a sustainable manner. Capacity building measures have included investments in both people and equipment and facilities.
As part of the improvement to CTTBD’s equipment and facilities, GALVmed have also purchased an US$ 80,000 lyophiliser (freeze-drier) and the associated reagents, which can be seen in the photo above.
Dr Nkhwachi Gondwe-Mphepo, acting director of CTTBD, said:
“The involvement of GALVmed … presents us with huge possibilities at ground breaking advances in the control of East Coast fever.
With the sponsorship from GALVmed, the CTTBD is beginning to make progress in upgrading the skills of its technical staff due to the focused training its technicians have started receiving in conducting clinical studies, handling of data and processing of laboratory materials.
The arrival of the first few pieces of equipment meant for up-scaling of the ECF vaccine production has invigorated everyone here and given us renewed belief for a brighter future for the CTTBD as an institution.”