Pharmacists task FG on local vaccine for COVID-19, others

NAPPSA

The Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) has charged the Federal Government to prioritise indigenous production of vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.

President of NAPPSA, Dr. Anthony Ikeme, gave the charge during the 93rd annual conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), which held in Osogbo, Osun State. The theme is “Technological Revolution: Adaptation in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Pharmacy Practice, and Regulation.”

Ikeme stressed that for Nigeria to be reckoned with globally, its pharmaceutical sector must be amenable to the latest technologies. He pledged continued support of his association for efforts at containing the ravaging coronavirus and enthroning a rounded pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Nigeria.

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PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, who spoke on the theme of the conference, said: “We want to expose ourselves to the possibilities of what technology can do. It would not only fill knowledge gaps but also put life-transforming tools in the hands of the healthcare-seeking Nigerians.

MEANWHILE, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has joined others in celebrating the Nigeria-born researcher, Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu, for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

President of NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who spoke to The Guardian about Ogbuagbu yesterday, said: “This is a vindication that Nigerian doctors are well trained. It shows they are committed. It shows they are focused on. But unfortunately, they are not valued here. This is why many Nigerian doctors are travelling out of the country.

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“The achievement is not just for the NMA but his family, Nigeria, and Africa. The government should recognise that the young man has made the country proud.

“We also have another Nigerian doctor working at Emory University, a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. I will not mention the name now but will do so very soon. It is a great thing they are doing and we should applaud it.

Ogbuagu, who graduated from the University of Calabar in 2003, is now an associate professor of medicine and Director of the HIV Clinical Trials programme of the Yale AIDS Programme, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, New York City, United States.

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Ogbuagu is the Yale principal investigator in multiple therapeutic and preventive clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, including remdesivir, now United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, as well as leronlimab, remdesivir, and tocilizumab combination therapy.

Ogbuagbu is also part of a team of researchers for Pfizer, which jointly announced with BioNTech that a vaccine against COVID-19 had been developed with 95 per cent affectivity. The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries with no safety concerns raised.

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