Ensuring vaccine quality in Africa: the role of the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre

28 September 2022

This IVVN webinar covered the role of the African Union Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) in vaccine quality control in Africa. It was presented by Dr Nick Nwankpa, AU-PANVAC's director, and it was chaired by IVVN Network Management Board member Professor Brian Perry.



The failure of Joint Project (JP) 15 for the control of rinderpest in Africa in the 1980s raised concerns that some vaccines used in the campaign did not meet the required international standard of quality and this subsequently led to the establishment of the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC), the Centre responsible for the provision of international independent vaccine quality control of rinderpest vaccines in Africa. Recognizing the significant role played by PANVAC in the control of rinderpest and other economic diseases, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Council of Ministers elevated PANVAC to the level of a Centre of Excellence for Vaccines Production and Quality Control with the status of an OAU specialized Agency. Subsequently PANVAC became assimilated into the structures of the AU, and was officially launched as an African Union Regional Centre on the 12th of March 2004. The mandate of AU-PANVAC was subsequently expanded to include quality control of all vaccines used in Africa, production of essential diagnostic reagents and collaborations with international partners. In addition, PANVAC was also given specific mandates by the heads of state in Africa amongst which are maintaining Africa free from rinderpest and the harmonization of vaccine registration across the continent. Today, AU-PANVAC is a collaborating centre of the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), a Reference Centre of the Food and Agricaulture Organization (FAO) and continues to play a major role in ensuring the use of good quality vaccines and diagnostic reagents through promoting best practices in the production and certification of animal vaccines. It also collaborates with international partners to promote new vaccine improvement and development initiatives against major transboundary animal diseases in Africa.

Dr Nick Nwankpa, Director of AU-PANVAC

Dr Nick Nwankpa, is a veterinarian and holds a PhD degree in Veterinary Microbiology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has over 30 years of working experience in the field of animal diseases control at National and International levels. He was the head of Mycoplasma Research Laboratory at the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria before joining the African Union in October 2010 as the Senior Veterinary Vaccine Officer responsible for overseeing all Quality control activities at AU-PANVAC. As the Veterinary Vaccine Officer, Dr. Nick Nwankpa supervised several projects including the 'OIE Sub-grant project to AU-PANVAC'; a project relating to Vaccine Standards and Pilot Approach to peste des petits ruminants (PPR) control in Africa and the 'Vaccines Against Neglected Animal Diseases in Africa' (VACNADA) project; a project funded by the EU through GALVmed. He was appointed the Director of AU-PANVAC in March 2015. AU-PANVAC is the only Organization mandate by the African Union to Certify all veterinary vaccines produced or imported into Africa for use. Dr Nick Nwankpa has several publications in national and internal journals.