FG Lacks Will to Produce Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine, Recovery Drug, Experts Say
The president, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Prof James Damen, has said Nigeria can produce its own COVID-19 vaccine if government develops the will to do so.
He urged Nigeria to build its own research institutions and universities to be able to develop its own vaccine rather than importing.
According to him, it will be more beneficial for Nigeria to produce its own vaccine and also export to other countries instead of relying on other countries.
He said, “We can be able to make our own vaccine which will be specific because corona is a virus and viruses undergo mutilation. The west is making this vaccine based on the type of coronavirus that they have in circulation. So, why should we collect theirs and start immunising our people?
“We have people that are infected; it is not enough to say somebody is positive. Why can’t we isolate the viruses? But do we have the infrastructure that we can use to isolate this organism?”
Meanwhile, the director-general, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), said it has produced a drug that helps COVID-19 patients recover.
He however lamented that lack of funding for further scientific evaluation was preventing the drug from being in the market.
The DG said, “We have appealed for support from at least 30 development partners, philanthropists and foundations. We have written to all of them. It will shock you to realise that the only organisation that has committed to provide some of the funding to take this product to the next level is an orgsnisation that is situated in Burkina Faso.
“So as regards funding, we are not where we are supposed to be as a county. In Nigeria currently, the data suggest that 0.04 per cent of our GDP is channeled towards research and development. There is no developed country around the world that does not spend around 1- 5 per cent of their GDP on research and development. What it means is that those who are developed spend 100 times per capital as a country as what we spend on research and development. So we are no where we supposed to be.”
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