Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday said a Nigerian anti COVID-19 vaccine is underway with the ongoing landmark research of a team of Professors from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
The Vice President said this at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, Abuja, where he underwent a facility tour, in company of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
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Osinbajo spoke on the ground-breaking research of several Nigerians towards creating a cure for the COVID-19 virus at the occasion.
He said: “Last week, I was in briefing meetings, listening to the landmark research of a team of Professors from LUTH who are investigating the ‘efficacy’ of some of the drugs in the therapeutic management of COVID-19 and are researching its prophylactic use.
“A few days later, I was listening to Professor Christian Happi and his team who have produced a ground-breaking COVID-19 rapid test, but more remarkably, are developing a Nigerian anti COVID-19 vaccine.”
Prof. Osinbajo said the country had expanded its public health response capabilities and making a progress in the public health sector since after the nation’s first COVID-19 case last year due to the diligent work of Nigeria’s health workers and experts across the nation.
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The Vice President, who noted “that we have a critical situation on our hands currently with the increasing number of cases being recorded”, however added that a lot of progress has been made since Nigeria’s first case was reported in February 2020.
He said the country had activated nearly 120 laboratories nationwide – 70 of them public laboratories – and had “significantly” ramped up testing and case management capacity.
“We have expanded the footprint of our sovereign public health response capabilities especially at the subnational level and in areas where previously such capabilities did not exist.
“Not so long ago, test samples had to be flown out of the country for examination. This is no longer the case as we now have the capacity to process samples internally.”
He said: “this very facility is a testament to the strides that we have made during a short period. While we are not yet where we want to be as a nation, we are most certainly not where we were at the onset of the pandemic.”
The Vice President lauded Nigeria’s public and private healthcare specialists and workers in the line of duty for ensuring the safety, cure and prevention of majority of Nigerians from the COVID-19 virus, sometimes under extremely challenging circumstances. He also hailed NCDC.
The Vice-President, who appealed to Nigerians to continue to comply with COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical measures, urged them to comply with the advice of “our scientists and healthcare professionals and to continue to take every measure to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
During the tour of the facility in Gaduwa, the Federal Capital Territory, the Vice President was taken round the laboratories and also interacted with a select group of staff.
He paid tribute to the memory of the late NCDC staff, Uche Njoku, who died in the course of service.