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Museveni to commission UGX1.8 trillion Dei Biopharma vaccines plant today

President Museveni during the launch of the construction of the Dei Natural Products International Ltd plant in Matugga on June 3, 2020

President Museveni during the launch of the construction of the Dei Natural Products International Ltd plant in Matugga on June 3, 2020 (PHOTO/UG Standard)

WAKISO — President Yoweri Museveni will Friday, October 21 commission the Dei Biopharma multibillion vaccine manufacturing plant at Matugga in Wakiso district.

The facility under the Dei Group, is expected to manufacture the much sought-after Biological Drugs and mRNA vaccines and make them readily available in the country.

The UGX1.8 trillion ($500m) biological drugs and mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility deals in pharmaceuticals, research and value addition on produce.

A team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously visited the facility and expressed satisfaction at which it was shaping up.

Prof. Joseph Okeibunor who led the team that also included scientists from Uganda and other countries said they were impressed by work done so far and the plans to lead Africa in traditional medicines research.

He said that WHO had always had a department of traditional medicine as one of the operational programs, but traditional medicine had the first choice.

On one of the recent tours of the facility, Mr. Mathias Magoola, the founder and Managing Director of Dei Pharma Limited said that the $500m project, which will be implemented in phases, was being funded by the Equity Bank, Uganda Development Bank, and other institutions.

He said that the biological products facility of DEI Biopharma would produce all the biologic medicines listed as essential drugs, including filgrastim, erythropoietin, and trastuzumab, among several others.

He added that these will be the first such source of biosimilars in Africa.

He said apart from natural resources and technology, there was nothing capable of removing Africa from poverty other than traditional medicine.

“If only Africa would discover what needs to be done right,” he stated, adding that traditional medicine can be a game changer for Africa.

“The company has built a plant to give Ugandans all drugs they need in healthcare and other medicines they cannot afford because they are expensive,” he said.

According to experts, mRNA vaccines don’t use live virus to trigger an immune response but instead teach the cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.

The country has been faced with a lack of a supplier for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Museveni has previously said that his administration remains committed to funding research and innovations in the country.

Uganda is currently working on Covid vaccines of which two of them are said to be at animal trials.

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