Scientists in Nigerian universities under the aegis of COVID-19 Research Group yesterday announced the discovery of a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.
Addressing a news conference at Adeleke University in Ede, Osun State, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, leader of the team, said the vaccine was being developed locally in Africa for Africans.
Kolawole, a specialist in Medical Virology, Immunology and Bioinformatics at Adeleke University however said the vaccine would also work for other continent when unveiled.
He said the study, which led to the discovery of the vaccine, had enjoyed initial funding by the Trinity Immunodeficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult, Ogbomosho, to the tune of about N7.8 million.
Kolawole said the group had been working extensively by exploring the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates.
He said after trying out some selected processes of vaccine development, the researchers had been able to choose the best potential vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV-2 and had made the possible latent vaccine constructs.
On how soon the unnamed vaccine would be unveiled to the public, Kolawole said that it would take a minimum of 18 months.
According to him, this is because a lot of analysis and studies as well as approvals by medical authorities were still required.
Also, Prof Solomon Adebola, acting vice-chancellor of the university, said the university was poised to assist in the funding of the research with a view to bringing the vaccine to limelight.
He stated: “We are glad that a vaccine that will provide solution to a global problem like Coronavirus pandemic is coming from the garden.
“It is our passion to be a solution provider to such a global pandemic, and we are ready to throw our weights behind the team and make the vaccine a reality”.
Commenting, Prof Julius Oloke, head, coordinating unit of the Research Group and Vice-Chancellor of Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, said the vaccine was real.
He said, “It’s a pleasure that we have come together to produce a vaccine at a time that the world is in need of solution to a ravaging pandemic. It’s a proof that we are working and not folding our hands or looking away from the problem.
“The vaccine is real. We have validated it severally. It is targeted at Africans, but will also work for other races. It will work. It cannot be faked. This is a result of determination. It took a lot of scientific efforts.
“The population of those that need vaccines is more than those that need drugs. That is why the research focused on vaccine.”