Ede, Osun: A team of Nigerian scientists claimed to have discovered a unique vaccine that may help prevent the novel coronavirus infection, according to local media. The discovery of the vaccine was announced on Friday by Nigerian Universities’ Scientists, under the aegis of COVID-19 Research Group, even as researchers all over the world race against time to find a cure for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has so far killed at least 465,300 people globally.
Dr Oladipo Kolawole, a specialist in Medical Virology, Immunology and Bioinformatics, at Adeleke University, Ede in Osun, and leader of the research team, said during a news conference that the vaccine was being developed locally in Africa for Africans, reported The Guardian Nigeria. According to Kolawole, the unnamed vaccine, when unveiled, would also work for other races.
Kolawole, however, said that it would take a minimum of 18 months before the vaccine would become available to the public for widespread use since a lot of analysis and trials as well as approvals by medical authorities were required.
Kolawole said the research initially received funding - roughly 7.8 million Nigerian nairas ($20,000) - from the Trinity Immunodeficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult, Ogbomosho. He further added that the team had been working extensively by exploring the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from samples across Africa to select the best potential vaccine candidates.
He added that the researchers had been able to pick the best potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates and had made the possible latent constructs after trying out some selected processes of vaccine development.
Meanwhile, Prof Solomon Adebola, the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the university was poised to assist in the funding of the research with a view to bringing the vaccine to the limelight, the report added.
“We are glad that a vaccine that will provide a solution to a global problem like coronavirus pandemic is coming from the garden. It is our passion to be a solution provider to such a global pandemic, and we are ready to throw our weights behind the team and make the vaccine a reality,” Adebola said.
Furthermore, prof Julius Oloke, the Head, Coordinating Unit of the Research Group and Vice-Chancellor of Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, said the vaccine was real.
“The vaccine is real. We have validated it several times. It is targeted at Africans, but will also work for other races. It will work. It cannot be faked. This is a result of the determination. It took a lot of scientific efforts. The population of those that need vaccines is more than those that need drugs. That is why the research focussed on a vaccine,” he was quoted as saying by the report.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 13 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are currently being tested in humans and more than 120 candidates are in earlier stages of development.