Biological products, such as vaccines, and monoclonal antibodies, offer significant promise in combating global health challenges. However, the limited biomanufacturing capacity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and a shortage of a qualified workforce impede their production locally for national and regional health needs.

In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching the Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Initiative, which is coordinated by the local production and assistance (LPA) unit, on behalf of the Access to Medicines and Health Products (MHP) division at WHO. This action is being carried out in collaboration with the WHO Academy and WHO Science Division.

WHO’s Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Initiative aims to enhance bioproduction capabilities in LMICs by providing accessible and tailored training programs, aligned with WHO and international standards, and adapted to the evolving needs of the bioproduction sector, according to WHO officials. The initiative will have three pillars: existing capacity-building activities within WHO, the Global Training Hub for Biomanufacturing, and regional training centers, adds a WHO spokesperson.

Capacity building and technical-assistance programs

Organized by the LPA Unit, WHO’s capacity-building programs are focused on providing innovative and needs-based technical assistance to manufacturers and member states. These capacity building and technical assistance programs, including virtual and hands-on training sessions using real-life scenarios, have helped promote local production efforts such as the annual virtual cGMP training marathons for vaccine manufacturing, the “Week of Quality,” a number of CMC trainings on vaccines, and other medical products, and regional holistic training workshops on key enablers for sustainable local production.

The GTH-B, established in 2023 in collaboration with the Republic of Korea, offers training programs to LMICs to build workforce capacity in the development and manufacture of biological products such as vaccines and cancer medicines. The programs include training in manufacturing facilities and courses in manufacturing best practices and vaccinology.

Additionally, regional training centers, following the recommendations of the Second World Local Production Forum (WLPF), will further enhance geographical diversity and resource synchronization, explains the WHO spokesperson.

Expressions of interest for regional training centers to join the global network under the Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Initiative will be invited in the near future. For more information, please visit the WHO Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Initiative website or contact [email protected].

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