Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
13 May 2019 | Story Zama Feni | Photo Charl Devenish
Dr Quinton Meyer and Marlena Visagie
National Control Laboratory Deputy Director, Dr Quinton Meyer (right), and Marlena Visagie, Quality Assurance Manager, at the laboratory within their facilities at the University of the Free State.

The University of the Free State-based National Control Laboratory for Biological Products (NCL) has maintained its esteemed status as a pharmaceutical testing laboratory after the South African Accreditation System (SANAS) further endorsed its quality-management systems as of high standard according to the International Standards Organisation’s requirements.

The Director of the NCL, Professor Derek Litthauer, said their laboratory – which is also approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – has again achieved the international testing standards. The cherry on top was that the NCL also received a certificate of Good Manufacturing Compliance (GMP) from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). 

NCL is for Africa and the World 

Some of the factors that make the NCL an esteemed institution, is the fact that it is one of 12 laboratories worldwide to perform vaccine testing for the WHO; the NCL is the only vaccine-testing laboratory in the country that performs the final quality-control testing of all human vaccine batches marketed in South Africa on behalf of SAHPRA. 

For example, Prof Litthauer said that the influenza vaccine batches currently available on the South African market, were tested by the NCL for quality before authorising their release for sale to the public. This process is followed for all human vaccines used in SA.

 “In our role as vaccine-testing laboratory for the WHO, the NCL helps to ensure that the vaccines purchased through the WHO prequalification programme for international distribution to resource-limited countries, meet the high standards of quality, safety, and efficiency. 
The NCL was one of the first full members of the WHO NCL Network for Biologicals, which consists of full and associate members of regulatory authorities from more than 30 countries.

The NCL systems are world-class

Prof Litthauer said this achievement is recognition that their laboratory complies with specific international standards with respect to its quality-management system. 
“In practice, it means that the laboratory has all the quality systems in place to ensure high-quality test results. The GMP certification is a further step, meaning that laboratory testing is on the expected level for any pharmaceutical testing laboratory and manufacturer. It is a very strict certification.”

He further mentioned that the NCL is also licensed as a pharmaceutical manufacturer. “Although we do not manufacture, we have to comply with manufacturing standards.”
“It is rare for a pharmaceutical testing laboratory (such as the NCL) outside of a manufacturing context to qualify for both certifications. It means that the NCL complies with exceptionally strict standards for pharmaceutical labs anywhere in the world,” he said.
The certification provides the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the World Health Organisation, and other national control laboratories around the world, with the confidence that the test results from the NCL can be trusted.


There can be no compromise for quality 

The NCL Quality Assurance Manager, Mrs Marlena Visagie, said, “It is essential that the NCL complies with the highest international quality-assurance standards to ensure that all the lot-release operations, such as manufacturing review and quality testing, are performed in a reliable and reproducible manner.”

“There can be no compromise when it comes to the quality of medicines which are made available to the public,” she said.

“What makes this special, is that the NCL does not only comply with international ISO/IEC standards for pharmaceutical testing, but also with the additional GMP standards required by a pharmaceutical manufacturer. This means that the NCL must ensure that all its operations, including everything from the way documents are compiled and stored, to the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure as well as staff competency, are performed according to international guidelines.”

All NCL staff share vision of excellence

Prof Litthauer said the NCL has a staff complement of 15 technical, administrative, and support staff.  Four staff members have PhDs, and the rest of the technical staff have master’s or bachelor’s degrees or are trained as medical technologists. “At the moment, our biggest problem is to get enough suitable space to expand our testing,” he said.

Prof Litthauer said, “All the staff members at the NCL share the vision of excellence, which makes this kind of achievement possible.”
The NCL will host the third annual meeting of the WHO NCL Network in November of this year and will then be reassessed again by the WHO as part of the normal three-year cycle of assessments.  

News Archive

UFS Alumni honours five Kovsie Alumni
2009-08-26

 

 
Prof. André Venter and Prof. Johan Grobbelaar
Photo: Supplied

The sought-after Kovsie Alumni Awards, which are awarded to alumni of the University of the Free State annually, will be presented to five Kovsie alumni at a gala award dinner on Friday, 4 September 2009.

UFS Alumni nominated Mr Gert Grobler as the 2008/09 Kovsie Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Gert Marincowitz and Sekoati Tsubane (Kabelo in 7de Laan) will receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award. Prof. Johan Grobbelaar, Senior Professor at the Department of Plant Sciences and Prof. André Venter, Chief Specialist at Paediatrics and Child Health, will both receive the Kovsie Alumni National Executive Award. These awards are presented annually to honour alumni for their excellent achievements and contributions towards the UFS.

The Kovsie Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to a Kovsie alumnus with outstanding achievements at national and international level. Mr Grobler receives this award for his role as ambassador for South Africa in Japan and the significant role that he played in initiating various structures and bilateral mechanisms to improve South Africa’s relations with various countries actively. His expertise, knowledge and passion for the diplomatic service and direct mediation and involvement in the establishment of various projects abroad are evidence of his dedication.

Dr. Marincowitz, who has also been honoured as RUDASA’s Rural Physician of the Year, receives the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award for his contribution to the promotion of primary health care in rural areas in Limpopo and for his role in sensitisation towards HIV care in these communities. The Cum Laude Award is given to an alumnus for outstanding service or achievement at local, national or international level in his/her specific professional field.

With his portrayal of the character Kabelo Padi in the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan, Mr Tsubane has distinguished himself in a highly competitive market. His impressive presence in portraying this character makes him a factor to be reckoned with in the world of entertainment.

Prof. Grobbelaar is honoured for his contributions, which put the UFS in the forefront, especially in the field of research, leading research expeditions to Marion Island and research in the Amazon, as well as the establishment of the first commercial algae-biotechnological plant in Africa at Muzina. His phenomenal leadership role in salary negotiations, his transparent and inclusive management style and the incredible way in which he empowers people to fulfil their tasks at the UFS also makes him a worthy recipient of the award. Under his leadership, UVPERSU has grown into the majority and representative union on campus.

Prof. Venter is also honoured for his outstanding service delivery to the UFS over the years and the exceptional way in which he has developed the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health to be one of the prestigious departments in the country. In the field of paediatric neuro-development, he dramatically improved the lives of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He has also played a major role in generating money to acquire equipment to improve intensive-care facilities in the paediatric unit in particular. He has been honoured by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge as one of the Great Lives of the 21st Century and is a finalist for the Bloemfontein of the Year 2009 award.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Kovsie Alumni Gala Award Dinner that will be held in the Reitz Hall of the UFS Centenary Complex. Various talented Kovsies will appear as guest artists. The cost of R120 per person includes a three-course meal. If you are interested in attending the dinner, contact Annanda Calitz at 051 401 3382 or ficka.stg@ufs.ac.za.

Media release:
Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
26 August 2009

 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept