Speed up Ebola vaccine production, Pearson tells multinationals


Managing director of Africess Nigeria Ltd and organiser of the Medic West Africa Exhibition, Mr Bryan Pearson, has called on multinational organisations to fast-track the research processes in developing an effective vaccine for the disease.

Pearson who spoke to Pharmanews in an exclusive interview during the Medic West Africa Exhibition held recently at the Eko Hotels, Lagos, said funding and producing usable vaccines to fight Ebola was a tall order for individual pharmaceutical companies, due to the capital intensive nature of R&D, as well as the lengthy process it required.

“Until this epidemic, there was no economic reason for an independent pharmaceutical company to be financially responsible for the vaccine, but that doesn’t mean multinational organisations shouldn’t have embarked on research on the disease 20 years back,” he explained. “However, that is the benefit of hindsight, because no one ever thought this could happen.”

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Pearson noted that since the disease had continued to ravage parts of the continent, it was pertinent for multinationals to synergise and develop validated vaccine for the disease, adding that Ebola was not a complex virus like HIV.

Speaking on the exhibition, Pearson said it was a good platform for health care professionals who wished to acquaint themselves with the latest technology in the industry, adding that Nigeria and Kenya were the biggest economies and regional hubs for the annual event.

He noted that though the fear of Ebola kept some exhibitors away this year, the event was still very successful. While admitting that the exhibition was a profit-making venture, Pearson said his team in the UK and Dubai worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the fair.

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A co-organiser of the event in Nigeria, Dr Adewale Balogun, further explained that the organisers run a continuous educational seminar for practitioners alongside the exhibition, with the aim of sharpening their skills.

“SME (the training module) is supposed to expose practitioners to current practices in laboratory management. It runs concurrently with the exhibition, for a full day. Though the Continuing Professional development (CPD) point for the medical laboratory scientists is 3 CPD points, other professions’ is 5 CPD points. Depending on the registration criteria for the council, for the medical council, 10 CPD points will qualify a participant for a re-registration, while participants; CPD hours must be related to their professional programmes”, he explained.

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