NIGERIAN virologist Professor Oyewale Tomori has been appointed to serve as a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) technical advisory group on Covid-19 vaccine composition.
Professor Tomori, a former vice chancellor of the Redeemer’s University, Ede, has blamed inconsistent government policies and personal interest as being among the reasons why Nigeria is unable to produce human vaccines. His expertise will now be tapped into globally as the WHO technical group is an independent panel of experts that will periodically review the evidence and analyse the implications of emerging variants as well as look at the performance of Covid-19 vaccines.
A WHO spokesman said: “During those global consultations, the WHO and partners have noted the urgent needs for shared access to information, coordination and prioritisation, as well as joint action and supported the call for the development of a global risk monitoring and assessment framework that elaborates decision-making processes, triggers for such decision making, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities. Following discussions with leads of laboratory and diagnostics, research and development, vaccines, regulatory and overall coordination teams and consultations with the executive director for WHO health emergencies programme, the coordination group recognise the need to establish a technical advisory group on Covid-19 vaccine composition.
“It will make recommendations to WHO on the methods to assess the impact of the variants of concerns on vaccines; provide interpretation of available evidence on the effect of variants of concerns on vaccines, including but not limited to vaccine effectiveness and recommend to WHO, for each Covid-19 vaccine platform, adaptations (if any) needed so that vaccines continue to safely provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against variants of concerns.”
Other members of the group include Dr Supamit Chunsuttiwat, who is an advisor at the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health Thailand and Cheryl Cohen a professor in epidemiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Others are Professor Thomas Fleming, a member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the WHO Solidarity Covid-19 Vaccines Trial, David Goldblatt, a professor of vaccinology and immunology as well as Dr Ziad Memish, a senior infectious disease consultant.