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By Chika Nwachukwu
Nigerian researchers engaged in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund-sponsored Vaccine Development Mega Research Project at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, have successfully handed over the Covid-19 DNA vaccine candidate for preclinical trials in Nigeria.
In a symbolic handover of the vaccine candidate in Sokoto for trial, the researchers said despite the numerous challenges faced during the procurement of some of the consumables, equipment and reagents from abroad, within 11 months of the receipt of the first tranche of TETFund grant, the vaccine was ready.
Speaking at the “Presentation of Milestone on the TETFund-sponsored Vaccine Development Mega Research Project,” Vice Chancellor of Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, Prof Lawal Suleman Bilbis, said the handing over of a vaccine candidate for trials goes a long way to showcase the ability of indigenous scientists to solve the nation’s problems using home-grown resources and facilities.
Bilbis also said the “milestone portrays our expertise in the application of state-of-the art technologies to rapidly develop vaccine candidates against any emerging or re-emerging Infectious diseases in Nigeria.”
He assured that the nation is very close to reaping the benefits of the investment and confidence bestowed upon us, adding that they will converge in the next few months to celebrate the successful completion of this project.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, commended the efforts and output by Usman Danfodio University in terms of research and Development, adding that the University has succeeded in accessing over 35 NRF grants over the years, placing it among the best performing Institutions in accessing the National Research Fund, NRF.
Echono appealed to Nigerian researchers not to relent on the overarching goal of delivering a homemade Covid-19 vaccine.