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‘Why COVID-19 Vaccines Can’t Be Developed In Nigeria Now’



'Why COVID-19 Vaccines Can't Be Developed In Nigeria Now'

Nigeria currently lacks the right environment and therefore COVID-19 vaccines cannot be developed in it, according to the Chair of Africa COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative and Chief Executive Officer of Innovative Biotech USA and Nigeria, Simon Agwale.

Last week, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced that Nigerian scientists have produced at least two local COVID-19 vaccines, which are awaiting clinical trials and certification.

Explaining that if the government was serious about developing a vaccine, it should get the private sector involved, Agwale stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could work with the CACOVID to develop some platform/initiative to kick-start the process.

He urged the Federal Government to prioritise the vaccination of only two million eligible Nigerians with the four million vaccines it currently has. He explained that since there is doubt as to when it would get another batch of the vaccines, it should only vaccinate two million citizens so that they are sure of getting their second shot of the vaccine.

Agwale said on Channels Television: “When the announcement was made, they did not publish the names and institutions where these things were made. Vaccine development manufacturing is not rocket science, but it is not a trivial issue. Currently, I can tell you with all confidence that there is no capacity right now in the country to develop and produce vaccines. These are not things that you just wake up overnight and you want to do.

“We have to be careful about the kind of information that we send because we become a laughing stock globally. When you say vaccines are developed in Nigeria, the world knows how vaccines are developed, and the infrastructure you need to develop vaccines. I am in the U.S. developing vaccines because there is no capacity in country to do that.

“To develop a vaccine, the first is you have to have a standard tissue culture laboratory with 24-hour power. When you make the vaccine, you have to test it in animals. This animal facility has to be according to what we call good laboratory practices.

“There is no single animal facility in Nigeria that is operating according to good laboratory practices. When you finish your animal studies, you have to produce the initial dose for human trials, and that has to be done according to good manufacturing practices. There is no single factory in Nigeria that is producing vaccines according to good manufacturing practices.

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“Before you even manufacture that, you have to talk about doing clinical trials under good clinical practices, there is no platform in the country now that does clinical trials according to good clinical practices.

“It can be done by discussing how we can make this happen. We have the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, the Medical Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, and some universities. This can be done, but currently none of these exists. Right now, we cannot make a vaccine in Nigeria and say the world should accept it. This cannot be done. That is why I say bring international vaccine manufacturing expertise in Nigeria.

“Whatever you produce in Nigeria is not only for Nigerians, but is going to be used throughout Africa and the world. You have to abide by all the necessary standards that are in place.”

He added: “In vaccine production, the private sector has to take the lead. If you look at the companies producing COVID-19 vaccines, they are all private initiatives, but the government has to produce the enabling environment for this to be achieve

“For you to set up an end-to-end facility to produce between 200 and 400 million vaccines per annum, you are talking about $50 to $60 million to make that happen. This is just a drop in the ocean based on the impact of COVID-19. The CACOVID and CBN can create an initiative or platform or soft funding arrangement, which is done globally.

“The reason we have COVID-19 vaccines created in a record time of less than one year, is because there were serious government interventions, willing to give companies grants and advancing other interventions to make sure that these vaccines are made.

“This is what I expect from the Nigerian Government. African vaccine Initiative is the place to go. They tell you who is doing what on the continent. Also, the Nigerian Government needs to engage with the right partners in the country and bring them on board. You need to go out of your way to make this happen. You can’t sit down and expect a miracle to happen. If that is the case, we wouldn’t have had COVID-19 vaccines today.”

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WHO Urges Global Surveillance As Over 300 Children Die



WHO Urges Global Surveillance As Over 300 Children Die

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has appealed to countries to conduct more surveillance following a reported death of over 300 children from the use of contiminated cough syrups in three countries.

The world health agency on October 5, 2022, had issued a medical product alert which focused on the Gambia regarding four Indian products, Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
The alert came following the death of over 60 children in the West African country after consuming the cough syrups.

Again in November 2022, the WHO also issued another warning focused on Indonesia concerning eight products including Termorex syrup (batch AUG22A06 only), Flurin DMP syrup, Unibebi Cough Syrup, Unibebi Demam Paracetamol Drops, Unibebi Demam Paracetamol Syrup, Paracetamol Drops (manufactured by PT Afi Farma), Paracetamol Syrup (mint) (manufactured by PT Afi Farma), and Vipcol Syrup.

READ ALSO: Why Over One Billion People May Become Deaf – WHO

In another warning contained in a statement on Wednesday, the UN agency said over the past four months, several countries had reported incidents of over-the-counter cough syrups for children, with “confirmed or suspected contamination with high levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.”

“Last year, WHO raised the alarm by issuing medical alerts in October focused on the Gambia, in November about Indonesia, and earlier this month regarding Uzbekistan.

“The cases in these three countries are associated with more than 300 deaths, but we know that at least seven countries have been affected. Most of the deaths have been in children under the age of five.

“WHO’s medical product alerts were rapidly disseminated to the national health authorities of all 194 WHO member states,” the warning said.


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How Long Fasting Harms Kidneys – NAFDAC DG



How Long Fasting Harms Kidneys - NAFDAC DG

Nigerians who subject themselves to long-hour fasting are doing so much harm to their kidneys.

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning on Monday.

Prof. Adeyeye, who attributed the high rate of kidney problems in Nigeria to prolonged fasting by some religious adherents, insisted that those subjecting themselves to prolonged fasting on religious grounds must moderate the act.

READ ALSO: NAFDAC Warns Of Fake Augmentin In Circulation

She spoke in Abuja yesterday, while briefing the media on the breakthrough by her agency in tracking consignments of Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals to the Republic of Benin.

On the high rate of kidney problems in the country, she said  “Kidney failure, we are a very religious country- Muslims and Christians fast a lot and it is part of the kidney problem.

“Your body has to have homeomistatic balance, meaning that the water level in your body must be enough to make your organs to function.

READ ALSO: Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China

“Some people will fast for 10 or 20 days and drink only little water, the kidney is being punished. Now, if you put chemicals in it, it triples in exponential manner, it damages the kidney because the kidney doesn’t have water to dilute and filter.”

Adeyeye, who tasked Nigerians to fast but with common sense, added:  “I fast but with common sense. We have to fast with common sense, otherwise we will pay with our kidneys.”


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Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China



Govt Speaks On Alleged Fatal Flu From China

The Federal Government has made clarifications on reports of a fatal flu that broke out in China and that has spread to Nigeria.

The government through the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the World Health Organisation and other world health bodies had not informed Nigeria of any deadly flu from China.

He said this on Monday in Abuja, during a ministerial bi-weekly meeting on the update of COVID-19 response and development in the country’s health sector.

According to him, when there is an outbreak of any flu or disease anywhere in the world, WHO will announce it to the world and send an advisory on how it can be handled, but there is no such alert in the case of the strange flu.

“So the Ministry of Health finds the message going round in social media, odd and strange.

“By default, when there is an outbreak of any flu or disease anywhere we will hear it first from WHO and WHO has not said anything about it, we will also hear from the US Centre for Disease Control, but there’s nothing like that also from there and we have not even read anything from the Chinese people.

“Usually, their embassy will send somebody to come and inform us if there is anything. So I begin to wonder about the authenticity of that paper going around the place because up till today no confirmation of anything like that,” he said.

The minister also said that foreign media outlets were also silent about the flu from China, an indication that the news making the rounds was a fabrication.

He, however, said that the Federal Government was on the lookout for anything suspicious.

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“This is a season where people generate stories, throw them into the media and everybody starts panicking, whilst those who generated such stories are laughing at the chaos that they have created.

“So we are watching the situation, everything we hear we take seriously, but I want to assure you again that any outbreak of such a character, first of all, is announced by WHO, they will then send us advisory and information about it.

“The US CDC, the equivalent of CDC in the UK, in Europe, they have not said anything. So reports of that nature I also want you to take with a big pinch of salt,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there have been trending reports that amid the resurgence of COVID-19 in China, there has been an outbreak of an unknown deadly flu in China, which has led to the death of residents, including three Nigerians.

According to the reports, though the initial clinical analysis ruled out COVID-19, the symptoms of the fatal flu include dry throat, fever and difficulty in breathing.


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