Doris Obinna and Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Barely a week after Germany approved human trial of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, American biopharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has said its COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for emergency use by September.
The pharmaceutical giant, on Tuesday, said it would begin testing of the experimental vaccine in the United States next week.
The German vaccine, named BNT162, was developed by Biontech, a Mainz-based company. The company had said the vaccine would be tested in the US, after the human trials in Germany.
An Indian doctor resident in Abuja, Dr. Arun Balaganga, had said the new coronavirus was moving faster than researchers and drugmakers expected, with Pfizer Inc. joining several other groups saying that they had accelerated the timetable for testing and a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in the fall.
“Pfizer said it would begin testing of its experimental vaccine in the US as early as next week. On Monday, Oxford University researchers said their vaccine candidate could be available for emergency use as early as September.
“Right now, there are no vaccine trials in India, to the best of my knowledge, but there are lists of 12 to 15 companies working on different combinations,” he said.
The United Kingdom had also announced that there would be clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were about 20 different potential COVID-19 vaccines currently in development. Some of the companies working on a vaccine said they were accelerating the timeline for testing as experts predict that the COVID-19 pandemic may last till 2021.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally have risen to over three million, with over two million deaths while about one million have recovered.
A private Nigerian laboratory, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), located at Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, is collaborating with Cambridge University in the UK on a vaccine project. The private laboratory, a strategic partner of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is responsible for all COVID-19 testing in Kwara and the South-West states except, Lagos.
A professor of molecular biology and genomics study, who is the laboratory’s director, runs the project that is currently at early vaccine development stage. He leads a team of 21 African researchers and vaccine developers in the race toward the production of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has declared that a traditional cure for the pandemic has reached advanced stage and would be made available to the public soon.
The monarch disclosed this when he spoke to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, shortly after he presented two motorised modular fumigators to the Ogun State government.
Oba Ogunwusi, who said the donation of the mechanical fumigators to the state was his contribution to the state government’s efforts at combating the pandemic, explained that he had gone far in working with the traditional medicine practitioners in the country to ensure a solution was proffered for coronavirus.
He said though scientific solutions were being sought globally to end the pandemic, traditional medicine and solutions must also be considered and embraced as a way out of COVID-19.
The monarch, however, urged the Federal Government to emulate Madagascar in its quest to use local herbs in combating coronavirus, declaring local herbs have potency to heal victims of the virus.
“We are going to proffer the local cure for coronavirus very soon; I have gone very far in advanced stage with the traditional medicine practitioners in Nigeria. Before this pandemic came out, I have actually announced to the entire world from what we inherited from our ancestors. We came out very clear about the cure, the immune booster and the solution to a large extent was presented to us and we did what we are supposed to do, but the people probably didn’t hear us.
“I am very happy that the same thing that we are talking about in Nigeria, another sister country, Madagascar, has taken it upon themselves and even the US government, they have even reached out to them for funding. It is another unfortunate thing that the international countries are reaching out to us on this our solution, but our local people are not reaching out to us. And we have testimonials of a lot of people that have this ailment that we have used it for to heal them.
“It is naturally herbal and it is very effective; so, we decided to keep quiet and move to a stage of motorised fumigation and make it very mechanical,” the Ooni said.
Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, commended Oba Ogunwusi for the gesture and assured him that the fumigators would be put to good use. While listing the efforts of his administration at flattening the curve of the pandemic in the state, Abiodun said the state was open to ideas and activities capable of ending the virus.