By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
As the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has approved the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, as an emergency vaccine for Sri Lankans, following approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Government said the operation of filling and dispensing of Sinovac vaccine, by China’s Kelun Lifesciences Pharmaceutical, located in Pallekele, Kandy is also underway.
State Minister of Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Chanana Jayasumana told Ceylon Today that Sri Lanka will not only administer Sinovac to Sri Lankans but also be engaging in filling and dispensing of Sinovac vaccine that will be handled by Kelun Lifescience Pvt Ltd., once the WHO officials approve the operation. “Once everything is set up, officials from the WHO will be visiting the Pallekele pharmaceutical manufacturing company, located in BOI Pallekele,” he added. He added that it all depends on when they would start after the WHO officials’ visit to Sri Lanka.
Currently everything is being processed and the technical part of the Pallekele factory is underway. It’s a commercial arrangement by a private company and not through the Chinese Government channel, according to sources. The State Minister said he had paid a visit to the factory recently and before the WHO officials’ visit everything would be completed.
He said he cannot speculate on when the WHO team would be in Sri Lanka. The high-tech factory with all facilities has been already completed with all latest machinery fittings from China being installed. He also said this company would only do the filling and dispensing of the vaccine and export to various countries. Such practices are taking place in other countries too, he added.
According to the State Minister, Kelun has several local shareholders. According to the Kelun official website, the mother company is located in Sichuan and it has many of its joint ventures around the world.
When asked whether the Sinovac vaccine would be produced in Sri Lanka at the Kelun factory, he said that is a huge process and usually the mother company would not share the patent of their product. At the moment only the filling and dispensing would be undertaken at the factory in Pallekele, he told Ceylon Today.