Nigeria has unveiled a funding scheme for Covid-19 related research and development: “The Scheme is intended to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.’ Good move even though most universities are still on strikes. Dogonyaro – a herb in Southeast Nigeria was shipped from Nigeria to treat 3 people in the U.S. and they recovered. So, if our professors can get back to work, this could be our real oil if we get there first. Anything is possible.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, introduces the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) to help strengthen the public healthcare system with innovative financing of research and development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
Specifically, the HSRDIS is designed to trigger intense national R&D activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes for the research and development of drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
Here is a case study: Prof Augustine Njoku-Obi; his son married my cousin. His name might not sound popular. But he could have been the father of cholera vaccine in the world. He was the man who invented the cholera vaccine that stopped the Kano Cholera outbreak in 1972.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had approved his vaccine in 1971 and when the outbreak later happened in Kano, Nigeria deployed the vaccine. That was actually one of the finest moments of the post-war healing process – an easterner created a vaccine to save lives in Kano when a few months ago they were killing themselves!
So, Covid-19 could meet our virologists in UNN, UI, Uyo, ABU, etc; the experts have a chance.