Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

CIC National Capital Branch (Ottawa): African vaccine manufacturing: the challenges and the successes

February 1, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST


Event description

The COVID pandemic exposed the global injustices of the health system.  Africa has suffered greatly from the inequalities of vaccine distribution during this most recent pandemic.  Many Africans died unnecessarily of COVID during the first half of 2021 when vaccines were largely unavailable there, even as vaccines were being widely distributed in wealthy countries.  This injustice has led to the growing pressure for African manufacturing of vaccines for polio, malaria, Ebola, HIVAIDs, TB and others. Several initiatives in Africa have shown great promise and indicate that there is human capacity, technical skills and willing investors to set up manufacturing and thus start the move forward to advance the continent’s health sovereignty and security.

Today’s Webinar presents two panelists who speak from experience with developing vaccines for Africa: 

Prof. Petro Terblanche, Managing Director of Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines and Simon Agwale, Ph.D, CEO of Innovative Biotech, Nigeria and Innovative Biotech, USA Inc.  Also joining the panel will be Geoff York, the Globe and Mail correspondent based in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Professor Petro Terblanche has a successful track record in the strategic and operational management of technology intensive organizations. She has played a key part in the design and implementation of South Africa’s biotechnology strategy. She holds the position of Managing Director of Afrigen Biologics (Pty)Ltd based in Cape Town, South Africa. Afrigen hosts the global mRNA technology vaccine Hub under the COVAX initiative and has a mRNA Covid 19 vaccine candidate in development as part of a global program to build capacity and capabilities in LMICs to design, develop and produce mRNA vaccines. Petro also holds a part time position as Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the North-West University. A considerable part of her career was in research, development and innovation at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) as well as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She has held and holding several strategic public and private sector Board positions in SA as well as the position as President of the Stakeholders Organization for the Global Alliance for TB Drug Discovery and Development (2007-2010).  She holds several qualifications which include: a Master of Science and a Doctor of Science in Medical Oncology from the University of Pretoria, post-doctoral she was a visiting scientist at Harvard University School of Public Health and thereafter, completed a Management of Technology program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in addition to several management and leadership programs from leading institutions globally. Prof Terblanche is the author of more than 200 scientific publications and conference papers in public health. She was recently acknowledged as one of the legends of science by the Academy of Sciences South Africa.

Simon Agwale, Ph. D is the CEO of Innovative Biotech, Nigeria and Innovative Biotech USA Inc. He is a member of the board of the African Vaccine Manufacturers’ Initiative (AVMI) and Chair of Vaccine Technical working group. He is also an advisor to West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), and part of a recently established ECOWAS vaccines taskforce. He is currently the Lead (Technology and IP) of Partnership for Africa Vaccines Manufacturing (PAVM) of Africa Centers for Disease Control (AfricaCDC). Dr. Agwale has a vision for the development and investigation of HIV vaccine constructs from prevalent Nigerian strains which are relevant to Nigerians. He is also currently developing novel vaccines against Covid-19, Ebola, HPV, and HIV using innovative viral-like particles (VLPs). Through INNOVATIVE, Dr. Agwale is striving to further develop and refine these dynamic, novel treatments, and in doing so, expand domestic vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Nigeria to serve the African community. Dr. Agwale was a Postdoc fellow at the Institute of Human Virology Baltimore, USA and Visiting Scientist at various institutions in Brazil, Germany, UK including the US Vaccine Research Center/NIH, and US Center for Disease Control and prevention in Atlanta. Dr. Agwale was West Africa’s representative on HIV/AIDS for Developing countries Coordinating Committee (DCCC) at European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Programme, where he was also the chair of the African Scientists committee (DCCC). He is a recipient of several scholarships, fellowships and grants from reputable organizations around the world. He has also authored and co-authored numerous noteworthy publications.

Geoffrey York is The Globe and Mail’s Africa Bureau Chief, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has been a foreign correspondent for the newspaper since 1994, including seven years as the Moscow Bureau Chief and seven years as the Beijing Bureau Chief. Geoffrey is a veteran war correspondent who has covered war zones since 1992 in places such as Somalia, Sudan, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the author of three books, including two books on aboriginal issues in Canada. He has received several journalistic awards, including a National Magazine Award and five National Newspaper Awards.

Moderator: The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Marcia Burdette, the Deputy Chair of the Africa Study Group.  With a PhD in the Political Science from Columbia University (New York, 1979), Marcia Burdette pursued an academic career followed by 25 years with Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  She has a longstanding interest in Africa, in particular central southern Africa.  Her book Zambia: Between Two Worlds and a series of articles focused on the major economic transition of the country when its new leaders embarked on the nationalization of the copper industry, the country’s main economic engine. Subsequent articles dealt with input industries for Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector in the 1980s and 1990s.  

Name and contact details of event lead: Cheickh Bangoura, Chair of the ASG, tidyane17@yahoo.com


February 1, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST
Event Categories:
Event Tags:
, , , , , , , ,