PM launches National Vaccine Development Roadmap, jab institute

By , in Nation on .

Bangi, Nov 1 — Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today launched the National Vaccine Development Roadmap (NVDR) and Malaysian Genome and Vaccine Institute (MGVI) in an effort to turn the country into a hub for vaccine production and boost confidence in vaccine use.

The prime minister said that through NVDR and MGVI, Malaysia can produce its own vaccines that are quality, effective, and safe in accordance with conditions set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“Although R&D and vaccine production requires heavy investment, such efforts have the potential to bring long-term returns for Keluarga Malaysia in the form of cost savings in treating diseases and investments by multinational companies in Malaysia.

“Through the implementation of the NDVR and the establishment of the MGVI, high-skill human capital in various fields of research, especially those related to healthcare and vaccines, can be produced,” he said at the launch ceremony at the Malaysian Genome Institute here.

Also present were Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Adham Baba and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“More job opportunities can be created for Keluarga Malaysia to help increase the number of skilled workers and enhance the standard of living and health of the people,” he added.

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Ismail Sabri said NVDR will not focus solely on Covid-19, instead, its role will cover the development of vaccines for other diseases, including head and neck cancer by Cancer Research Centre.

He said three projects are ready to be implemented through NVDR, with the first involving the production of two types of Covid-19 jabs, using the inactivated virus and mRNA, developed by the Institute for Medical Research.

He said for this purpose, the funds extended by the government involve research allocations for the Health Ministry and Sukuk Prihatin totaling RM3.5 million.

The second project – Development of Mucosal/Oral/Subunit Vaccines Against Cholera, Tuberculosis, and Covid-19 – is a cholera vaccine developed in collaboration with Universiti Sains Malaysia and AIMST University, with additional funding of RM10.5 million from the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) via the Strategic Research Fund, he said.

“The third project is the Pre-clinical Evaluation of a Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine for the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer by Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) at a cost of RM3 million, financed by MOSTI.

“However, as there is not yet a facility to conduct the first human clinical trial in Malaysia, CRM will conduct the clinical trial from February 2022 until March 2023 in the United Kingdom,” he said.

On MGVI, he said upgrading MGI is in line with the institute’s scope of focusing on genome research and molecular biology in vaccine production efforts.

“I am confident that the establishment of MGVI can have a positive impact on the country from economic, social, and technological aspects, thus contributing to economic stability because there is no dependence on external sources of supply,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the government is committed to propelling research and development to produce new technologies by ensuring that 50% of the government’s research funds are provided for experimental development (pre-commercialization activities), especially for innovations with high commercialization potential.

Through various programs implemented by the government, he said, the country expects more vaccine scientists to be produced, thus supporting the government’s plan to increase the ability to develop human-specific vaccines not only for domestic use but also for the global market.

He also expressed confidence that Malaysia can reduce its dependence on vaccine-producing countries as it strengthens its health security. 

NMT as reported by Bernama

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