NIGERIA’S federal government has established a national vaccine company that will help with the procurement and possible manufacturing of a remedy for the dreaded coronavirus pandemic known as Covid-19.
Like most countries worldwide, Nigeria has been hard hit by the pandemic, with a total of 56,735 cases, out of which there have been 1,093 casualties. Several industrialised nations including the US, the UK, China, Russia, France, Germany and Japan are involved in a vigorous race to produce a vaccine before the end of the year.
Although Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry is not involved in this search for a virus, it is expected that the country will be a major distribution centre of the vaccine within Africa. Already, Nigeria has signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia to supply it with any coronavirus vaccine when it becomes readily available so the populace can have access to treatment.
Yesterday, Nigeria’s health minister Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the country is ready to grab the opportunity to collaborate with any country that shows genuine promise of developing reliable Covid-19 vaccine. He revealed that the Nigerian vaccine company is being positioned to serve as a vehicle for further engagement with countries and other entities in sourcing a Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Ehanire said: “We are in conversation with Russia and our strategy is to look at countries that have vaccines that proved to be reliable and then seek ways of collaborating with them, obtain vaccines from them or manufacture them under licence where possible. The federal government has a vaccine company that is just beginning to work on projects known as Bio-vaccine Company Limited, which it has a share in.”
According to Dr Ehanire, Nigerian scientists and their Russian counterparts are still following up on the discussion and a report would be submitted to the ministry of health soon. Stating that the federal government is working hard to reduce Covid-19 fatalities, he urged anyone with underlying illnesses or within the age bracket that are identified with risk factors to always report for treatment on time.
Dr Ehanire also said in order to improve the chances of survival, the Federal Ministry of Health will be distributing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions. He added that there are no reported cases of shortage of bed spaces from any of the states at the moment.