By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Nigeria has shown interest to be part of the solidarity trial of vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19) and that efforts are underway to start the process in the country.
This was disclosed by the WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Fiona Braka at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 of which she is a member.
She said 89 vaccines are being developed globally, and face rigorous processes of approval.
Braka said: “on the subject of vaccines and clinical trials for COVID-19, I will like to say that research and development is an important aspect of the response and researchers around the world are working hard on accelerating the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19.
“WHO has launched various working groups to accelerate various aspects of vaccine development.
“Together with global health actors and partners, over the past week, WHO launched the Access to Covid-19 Tools ACT Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development for equitable access to new Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
“We have a total of 89 vaccines that are in development globally, including seven in clinical evaluation and several therapeutics are in clinical trials.
“WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.
“We do have the solidarity trial which is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for Covid-19, launched by the WHO and partners.
“More than 100 countries have joined the solidarity trial and to date, over 1, 200 patients have been randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of full drug and drug combinations.
“Nigeria has also expressed interest to be part of this solidarity trial and efforts are underway to start the process in Nigeria”, she added.
At the briefing, Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, asked Nigerians to learn to live with the COVID-19 until there is a vaccine to halt its spread.
He said “we really encourage all Nigerians, because we are at the beginning of a journey and the most likely scenario is that until we have a vaccine, we would have to learn to live with COVID-19 in our country.
“We have to tell ourselves the truth about this and encourage one another because there is no point doing that. All of us here are just as vulnerable as catching the virus as are many other people. We will do our best, but we will always have to remember that it is a virus, you cannot build a wall and anything can still happen in spite of our best efforts”, he added.