CEO OF FDA DISCUSSES PRODUCTION OF COVID-19 VACCINE WITH CUBAN AMBASSADOR

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs Delese Darko on the 22nd of January 2021 met with the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez at the FDA's Head Office, Accra to discuss the progress on development of Cuba's Covid-19 vaccine.

In attendance at this meeting was Mr. Seth Seaneke, the Deputy CEO for Health Products and Technologies Division, Mrs Yvonne Nkrumah, the Deputy CEO for Corporate Services, and Mrs Mercy Mintah Gyampoh, the Pharmaceutical liaison for the Republic of Cuba in Ghana.

It is recalled that on 24th November, 2020 the FDA and the Center for State Control of Drugs and Medical Devices (CECMED) of the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba (MINSAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the area of health promotion.

The meeting, at the request of the Ambassador was to brief Ghana's FDA on status of clinical trials being conducted in Cuba on four Covid-19 candidate vaccines, each at different phases of clinical development.

According to his Excellency, Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez, the COVID-19 vaccine, "Soberana 02", is Cuba's most advanced candidate against the COVID-19 virus. He said this vaccine had passed Phase I trials in Cuba. He indicated that Phase II trials have also been carried out on 910 patients and Phase III trials would commence in February 2021.

He added that Cuba intends to offer the transfer of technology through an agreement with the Ghanaian Pharmaceutical Industry for the supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredients for the formulation, production and packaging of the vaccine in Ghana.

His Excellency, Gonzalez said countries like India, Vietnam, Iran, Venezuela and Pakistan have also expressed interest in acquiring the Soberana 02 vaccine.

Mrs. Darko on her part expressed gratitude to the people and Government of Cuba for their continued solidarity. She pledged the continued support of the FDA in the sharing of its experience as a Maturity Level 3 regulatory agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). She further expressed her utmost appreciation for the intended technological transfer support from Cuba.

In conclusion, she said the meeting has presented an opportunity to render support, build capacity, further develop and challenge the local pharmaceutical industry (allopathic and herbal). She mentioned that through this the pharmaceutical industry would make advances in promoting health, thus improving the health standards of the Ghanaian populace.

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The FDA exists to protect public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, food, biological products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances, tobacco and the conduct of clinical trials in the country.

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