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DHAKA: Bangladesh will set up its first-ever vaccine manufacturing facility in an effort to reduce its dependency on global providers.

State-owned pharmaceutical company Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday in the capital Dhaka with US-based Dyadic International to establish the plant, which will initially focus on production of the Covid-19 vaccine, Anadolu Agency reported.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque addressed the signing ceremony and told reporters at his office that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a loan of US$300 million for establishing the facility.

The plant will manufacture 13 types of vaccines including the Covid vaccine, it added.

Dyadic International will provide the necessary technical assistance, training and support to produce, preserve and maintain the quality of the vaccines.

Maleque said, however, that while Dyadic will provide technical assistance, manpower and training, they will have no partnership.

He said he hopes the initiative will reduce vaccine imports and that vaccines manufactured at the plant can be exported, noting that the facility will produce vaccines on a limited basis in the next two years and in full swing in phases in the next four years.

The plant will be set up in an area of about nine acres in Gopalganj district in the south-central part of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has procured 360 million doses of Covid vaccines worth 400 billion taka (US$3.7 billion), most of which were provided by global development partners, donors and through official procurement. None of the Covid vaccines administered in Bangladesh were locally produced. - Bernama