By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and Cuban scientists may soon begin a collaborative work on clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

Peoples Daily findings reveal that the trial is likely to take place in few months time if the parties conclude arrangements.

Our reporter also gathered that the collaborative efforts will also include the production of local vaccine for various diseases including COVID-19.

“The current collaborative effort is an outcome of the visit of the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Clara M. Pulido-Escandel, to NIPRD some few months ago”, a source in the know of the discussion told our reporter.

Though the source didn’t specify the medicines or vaccine that will undergo the clinical trials in the partnership, but confirmed that scientist from the Cuba and NIPRD may soon begin the work.

“Some areas of interest in the collaborative efforts of the two countries include; Clinical trial of Saberena 1&2 , Melagenina and other products, therapeutics, general Research and Development (R&D), drug discovery and diagnostic kit development and vaccine research & development.

“The effort is a step in the right direction for NIPRD and Nigeria at large, because NIPRD and Cuba are blessed with some of the best brains in R&D globally.
The effort will put an end to the challenges faced by Nigeria in accessing the COVID-19 vaccine because after the clinical trials, the vaccines will be produced locally.

“The collaborative-arrangement which may soon kick-off, will see NIPRD bringing over 20 globally acclaimed top class scientists to work with the Cuban team of scientists,” the source said.

He added that the effort will be mutually beneficial to both countries as both will benefit in the area of skills exchange toward attaining medicines security. NIPRD will, however, benefit from Cuba which has attained reasonable self-sufficiency in vaccine development and production.

“You will recall that Nigeria is making efforts to ensure that we have COVID-19 vaccine and in fact, other vaccines and drugs developed locally, this collaboration will be an opportunity for Nigeria through NIPRD to fast track the process.

“No individual or country has all the knowledge in the world, therefore, this effort is timely because it will enable Nigeria and Cuba to share vital knowledge and experience in important areas of clinical trials and vaccine production from natural products.

“All processes are currently being worked out and it may soon start,” the source who pleaded anonymity because he has not been authorised to speak on the matter said.

Peoples Daily recalls that at the peak of the Pandemic in Nigeria, NIPRD under the leadership of its current Director General, Dr. Obi Adigwe, developed hand sanitizers in order to address shortages in supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 virus.

The sanitisers were adjudged to be among the highest quality because the formulas were said to be contextual to Nigeria’s environment and in terms of ensuring activity against the spread of the coronavirus.

NIPRD also went further to open a database for local pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been licensed to produce hand sanitizers in Nigeria.

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