Prof. Maurice Iwu and his colleagues in search of Nigeria’s answer to COVID-19 vaccine
Nigeria’s former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, has said that the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, which his group presented to the federal government few months ago, is currently undergoing clinical trials at the University of Lagos.
He further said that the government of Thailand had accepted the active constituent of the vaccine as their national response for COVID-19, adding that the vaccine is doing well and it is going to be successful.
Prof. Iwu stated, “It is good to let Nigerians know that there is a new product based on the anti-malaria that my group is developing with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). We are currently having a debate about the new product, which is normal, because it is a healthy debate that will help NAFDAC to subject it to clinical trials.
“The ongoing clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine that we presented to NAFDAC may be slow, but we are not offended that the trial process is slow, and we are not angry that NAFDAC is conservative because the bottom line is to ensure the safety of lives after administration of the vaccine.”
Iwu, who spoke yesterday on the Morning Show of the Arise News television, the broadcast arm of Thisday newspapers, said the production of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria by his group was private sector-driven, and that the group has not received any financial support from the government.
“My group, which produced the COVID-19 vaccine that is currently undergoing clinical trials, has been consistent in developing drugs that will address emerging diseases like Ebola, COVID-19, among others. We also developed substance for Ebola disease based on the usual bitter kola, and we extracted a compound from it called Colaviron, which my group used to develop anti-viral agents. We are also working with the Raw Material Development Council (RMDC) to develop another anti-viral product from mushroom.”
The former INEC boss explained that the group would continue to develop anti-viral products that would cure emerging diseases, adding that there are several of the emerging diseases that are living in people, yet the people are not aware of them. He, however, said the group was tracking such emerging diseases. Nigeria, Iwu said, does not have the manufacturing capacity to produce vaccine that would go round Nigerians; hence, the country currently imports vaccines from other countries.