Director-General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe says with the right partnerships, Nigeria can lead the production of covid 19 vaccines in Africa.

He stated this when he visited the Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, in preparation for a national colloquium being organised by NIPRD in partnership with a law firm with offices in Nigeria and Ghana.

The Minister of State for Health and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, will deliver papers during the colloquium, which would be hosted via virtual platform on Friday with the theme: “Improving Access to COVID-19 Vaccines and other Interventions: Intellectual Property, Patent Waivers and other Critical Factors.”

Few days ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO), through its Country Representative, Kazadi Mulombo, stated that three countries in Africa are being considered for the installation of local production capacity for COVID-19 vaccines.

According to Adigwe, the COVID-19 pandemic presented what he described as “unique opportunities for the growth of pharmaceutical products, intellectual property rights and education worldwide.”

He stated that NIPRD was the first African institute to develop a world class phytomedicine from drug discovery up to phase two clinical trials and is also repurposing Niprimune, its flagship immunomodulatory agent for relevant clinical studies for COVID-19.

Adigwe noted that at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NIPRD pioneered and strongly advocated for indigenous manufacturing of hand sanitisers from locally sourced raw materials.

Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora applauded the NIPRD Director-General for the good work the institute had been doing in recent times, especially in the fight against COVID-19.

The minister, however, said his ministry and its agencies have done extremely well in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He particularly lauded agencies like NIPRD, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), for demonstrating high-level competence in the fight against the COVID-19.

During a similar visit to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the minister commended the NIPRD Director-General for the sustained strive to re-engineer the institute towards meeting the great expectations of providing solutions in the pharmaceutical industry.

He, however, urged Nigerian scientists to emulate their counterparts in China and Singapore, acknowledging that they changed the landscape of their countries through productive Research and Development (R&D) outputs.

He expressed confidence that Nigeria too can eradicate extreme poverty in the land through the combined efforts of R&D establishments.