Nigerians suffering from the dreaded COVID-19 will be used for vaccine trials already taking place in some parts of the world.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday revealed that coronavirus patients will be used as part of the global trial test of the vaccines developed for the treatment of coronavirus disclosed on Monday.
Already, Nigeria has informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it wants to be part of the global solidarity trial of the medicines being tried to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the daily press briefing of the PTF in Abuja, both the National Coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu and the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria would be part of the global trial and its patients would be used for the clinical trials.
The national coordinator said the manufacturers of the product had reached out to Nigeria from the United States to be part of the test.
Dr. Aliyu said: “We have also expressed interest in being involved in Oxford trial of the vaccine and we have been reached by the manufacturer of Remdesivir; which is the new drug the US provided, to see whether we can look at using it for our patients. We are looking at that from a clinical trial perspective.”
Also, the Health Minister said: “We have indicated interest to the World Health Organisation to be part of the global solidarity trial of medicines being tried to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts are on to also conduct research here in Nigeria.
“Other drugs can be added to the trials based on emerging evidence. In all this, we shall ensure the maintenance of ethical standards and safety of our people.
“I wish to recognise our healthcare workers who are at the frontlines, for your commitment and to reiterate the importance of maintaining high personal safety standards and infection prevention and control protocols at your workplace. This not only protects you but your family. We shall ensure more personal protective equipment for you and urge you to ensure its judicious use.”
The WHO Country Representatives, Fiona Brakar, said the COVID-19 vaccine would probably be available between 12 and 18 months to the date the virus was reported by China, saying that first vaccine trial started as early as 60 days after the genetic sequencing information from the virus was shared by China.
With about 89 products currently under vaccine production, with the accelerated efforts, and an expedited process, she said the first product might be available 12 to 18 months.
She said: “Research in going on globally, to study the genetics, of the virus and by styling the genetics of the virus, this helps us to develop a vaccine. Thanks to rapid sharing of genetic sequencing data from countries, we are able to advance the production of the vaccine. We do acknowledge the contributions of countries in sharing their genetic sequencing data, including Nigeria.
“The first vaccine trial started as early as 60 days after the genetic sequencing information from the virus was shared by China. And we have about 89 products that are currently under vaccine production. The number keeps getting updated because there is an accelerated process going on globally to try and found a vaccine.”