Ghana to produce anti-snake venom locally
The country is set to produce anti-snake venom locally to save the lives of people who are bitten by snakes, sometimes leading to deaths due to the lack of life- saving Serums.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Atlantic Lifesciences, a Ghanaian company, and Vins Bioproducts, an Indian company to actualise the local production.
The bulk Snake Vernom Antiserum arrived in Ghana last Friday. This would make Ghana the first country in West Africa to produce and package anti-snake venom for local use and export.
This forms part of government’s objective to make Ghana the hub of vaccines manufacturing on the continent.
The Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Lifesciences, Dhananjay Tripathi, said the WHO considered snake bite as a neglected tropical disease that plagued the rural communities.
He said Pharmanova and Atlantic Lifesciences had played critical roles in importing antisnake venom on behalf of the government, and that in 2017 his outfit considered the move to start local production of vaccines especially anti-snake serum.
The Executive Director of Vins Bioproducts Limited, Siddarth Daga, said his outfit was a leading producer of Sera.
He said he was excited his outfit was collaborating with Atlantic Lifesciences to produce anti-snake venom in Ghana.
Mr Daga said the partnership would help position Ghana to be the leader of Serum producer in Africa.
Health system vulnerability
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, said the COVID-19 disrupted health systems, ravaged economies and laid bare the vulnerabilities of countries.
He noted that Ghana could not rely on imported vaccines and serums to meet her health needs.
The Minister of Health said as the country weaned itself of the Global Alliance for Vaccines Initiative, it was important to produce it vaccine needs locally.
Mr Manu said it was in that direction the government was supporting the private sector to produce vaccines locally to help promote healthcare delivery.
The Head of National Vaccine Institute, Prof. William Ampofo, said the Institute will continue to facilitate the work by private sector to establish vaccine manufacturing plants in the country.
Data on snake bite
The World Health Organisation Country Representative for Ghana, Professor Francis Kasolo, in a speech read on his behalf, said on the average 9,600 snake bites were recorded each year from 2015 to 2019.
WHO is thus pleased with the signing of this MOU that signifies a joint effort to improve the availability and accessibility of safe, effective and affordable anti-snake venom, which is crucial in saving lives and reducing the mortality rate associated with snakebites,” he said
The Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Nsiah Asare, said the production of the anti-snake venom would promote public health in the country.
CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko noted that her outfit has approved the production of the anti-snake venom.