SCIENCE and technology minister Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has revealed that Nigeria is working hard to produce a locally made coronavirus vaccine to enable its professionals and scientists to be involved in mass production of a drug.
Like most African nations, Nigeria is not involved in the production of any of the major coronavirus vaccines and none of the pharmaceutical giants like AstraZeneca or Pfizer have a manufacturing facility on the continent. Being wholly dependent in imports, Nigeria, with a massive population of 200m, is particularly vulnerable to suppliers like India, Germany and the UK pulling the plug.
Speaking yesterday while receiving the Cuban ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Clara Paulido-Escandell, Dr Onu said producing the vaccine locally will help Nigeria create jobs and equally reduce poverty levels. He further stated that Nigeria is intensifying its effort in research towards the production of Covid-19 vaccine so that other countries can benefit too.
Dr Onu said: “We want all Nigeria professionals to be at the centre of economic activities in the country and we believe strongly is the only way that enterprises and growth will become very strong.”
Paulido-Escandell acknowledged that her last visit to the science and technology ministry availed her with the opportunity of working with some agencies such as the National Bio-technology and Development Agency and the Shetsco Development Institute to further achieve local vaccine production. She also warned against the rising cases of New Covid-19 variant.