A scientific researcher at the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Professor Richard Adegbola, has warned that the vaccines that are currently available in Africa are the best for Africans as none of them has been evaluated in the continent.
Adegbola who is also an elected member of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Board of Directors in Washington D.C., made this known during a meeting on the implementation strategy on COVID–19 vaccine development that took place at NIMR recently in Lagos.
According to the professor, nobody in the United States or the UK would take a vaccine that has not been evaluated in their setting, adding that a vaccine that has high efficacy in the UK may not have a high efficacy in Africa.
He made it known that producing a vaccine in our settings would help in evaluating the efficacy of such a vaccine on the people of the continent.
He said: “I don’t think the vaccines available now are the best for Africans because none of them has been evaluated here.
“Nobody will take a vaccine in the U.S. or UK that has not been evaluated in their settings and a vaccine that has a high efficacy in the UK may or may not have high efficacy here in Africa.”
He also noted that Africa manufactured only one percent of vaccination that is used in the continent.
However, Adegbola requested the prioritization of safety as a major element in vaccine development.
He stressed that vaccine production is different from the production of drugs or chemicals and noted that safety is very crucial.
He noted that in producing a vaccine that would safeguard people from disease, safety should be considered to prevent the researchers from obtaining something toxic or erectogenic in the process.
He said: “Come out with a roadmap on what can be done within short-term, mid-term and also strategies on the long-term.
“Vaccination should also be put into consideration because there is no point making a vaccine that will not get to the people who need to be vaccinated and that is why vaccine does not protect but vaccination does.”
Meanwhile, the initiative is funded by the Federal Government through TETFund, and is engaging both health and educational institutions to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine development in Nigeria.
The institutions involved are the Usman DanFodiyo University, Sokoto, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom near Jos, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Jos.