From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that Nigerian scientists have produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines that are awaiting clinical trials and certification.
This is coming just as the Director-General, World Trade Organisation ( WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged Africa to create a “roadmap” for boosting the continent’s capacity to eventually produce COVID-19 vaccines. The WTO DG said it had become an emergency as the continent lags behind in efforts to vaccinate 60 per cent of its 1.3 billion people.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.
Mustapha who welcomed the development said it will open a new vista in scientific breakthrough and boost the morale and image of the medical industry in the country.
“The disclosure that Nigerian scientists have produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines which are awaiting clinical trials and certification is significant. I call on all relevant agencies to provide the required support and enabling environment for smooth conduct of the remaining protocols for the certification of these vaccines with a view to encouraging and motivating other researchers,” he said.
Mustapha said the PTF has taken delivery of 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nigeria, and that it is under going verification by the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC).
He recalled that one year ago, exactly 21 March, 2020, a total lockdown was declared by the government in some parts of the country due to Coronavirus pandemic that hit the nation.
“In the past one year, the socio-economic impact on us cannot be underestimated. Many people lost their livelihood and many people lost loved ones. May their souls find rest with their maker.”