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 hosts a successful New Music Indaba
2015-08-18

  

Held at the University of the Free State’s Odeion School of Music (OSM), the NewMusicSA’s New Music Indaba 2015 featured works which Clare Loveday described as “breathtaking, discreet, and perfectly balanced.”

Loveday, one of South Africa’s acclaimed music critics and was Composer-in-Residence for the annual Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, attended the Indaba from 21-26 July 2015. In a review of Saturday’s gala concert, she referred to recitals of this nature as an “essential part of the South African musical landscape, providing musicians and composers a space in which to express their world.”

Staff and students of the OSM were extensively involved in facilitating the festivities as a symbol of commitment to South Africa and international contemporary art music. The OSM Camerata under the baton of Xavier Cloete performed two works by South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr well as a work by young Argentinian composer Diego Soifer entitled Mille Regretz .The festival featured music theory lectures, a variety of workshops, roundtable discussions ,concerts as well as an outreach programme.

Loveday described the highlight of her Indaba experience as “A delicate construction of sounds and silences that drew the listener into a focused and intense sound world,” a highlight created by the visiting German composer, Charlotte Seither’s “Far From Distance” for piano, clarinet, and cello. The concert evening culminated with Diale Mabitsela's "Friday Nights at Six," adding to the spectacular nature of the festival.

Throughout the week, classical chamber works featuring South African New Music Ensemble (SANME), the Choir of Christ Church Arcadia, and the Odeion Vocal Consort were performed and well-received. Bringing the five-day event to a conclusion was a choral mass at the Bloemfontein Anglican Cathedral, featuring an “Agnus Dei” written by George T. King.
 
Douglas Scott, Curator of the 2015 Indaba, reflected on it as a great success, saying that, “most of the participants agreed the event was a wonderful opportunity simply to hear different voices from the composition community juxtaposed with one another.”

From Scott’s perspective, the principal goal was to foster communication between artists with different visions, and to reach out to the local community.

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