Photo used for illustrative purpose.
The new training hub comes after the UN agency set up a technology transfer hub in Cape Town, South Africa, last year to give companies from poor and middle-income countries the know-how to produce COVID-19 vaccines based on mRNA technology.
The new hub in South Korea meanwhile will accommodate trainees from middle- and low-income countries around the world that may have struggled to access vaccines and treatments mainly produced until now in wealthy countries.
The new hub outside Seoul will provide workforce training to all countries wishing to produce products such as vaccines, insulin, monoclonal antibodies, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing.
"One of the key barriers to successful technology transfer in low- and middle-income countries is the lack of a skilled workforce and weak regulatory systems," said Tedros Adhanom.
"Building those skills will ensure that they can manufacture the health products they need at a good quality standard so that they no longer have to wait at the end of the queue," he said in a statement.
The WHO said that the South Korean government had offered a large facility outside Seoul that is already carrying out biomanufacturing training for companies based in the country.
It said its WHO Academy would work with the South Korean ministry of health and welfare to develop a comprehensive curriculum on general biomanufacturing.
The UN health agency also announced that the mRNA hub in South Africa would provide support to an additional five countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam.
The announcement comes after six African countries were chosen earlier this month to establish their own mRNA vaccine production with support from the hub.
WHO said numberous countries had expressed interest in participating in the programme.
It said the South African hub would provide support to all respondents, "but is currently prioritising countries that do not have mRNA technology but already have some biomanufacturing infrastructure and capacity."
Agence France-Presse/ Reuters
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