By Felix Khanoba
The National Universities Commission (NUC) says no fewer than six universities in the country are working on various local herbal remedies to the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, who made this known in Abuja on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the modest contribution of Nigerian universities on the war against COVID-19, said Redeemer University, Ede, is also collaborating with University of Cambridge to develop a vaccine for the virus.
Represented by his deputy, Dr Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, Prof. Rasheed expressed delight over the exploits of African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) domiciled in Redeemer University as well as research efforts of other universities to tackle the pandemic.
He listed the universities on the forefront in developing herbal remedies to COVID-19 to include University of Jos (UNIJOS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) and Igbinedion University.
His words: “The ACEs related to Herbal and Natural Products (UNIJOS, ABU and UNILAG) in addition to other universities engaged in drug research (OOU, OAU, Igbinedion University) have been tasked to lead the current effort to develop our natural and herbal remedies.
“The directive of Mr President in this regard is acknowledged following the great demonstration of enviable political leadership on this matter by the President of Madagascar.”
The NUC boss, who unveiled a compendium on various interventions by Nigerian universities in battling the virus, said as of 22 June, 2020, not less than 32 universities were involved in measures to find a solution to the pandemic.
Prof. Rasheed said such interventions range from cutting-edge research, development of ventilators, production of medical face masks, among others.
“The way ACEs have been found readily response and useful to mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how the Nigeria University System can be effective and relevant to national development if research is valued and adequately funded and the institutions provided with resources to motivate researchers and innovators, including students at al level of their studies,” he added.
The AUTHORITY reports that the World Bank- sponsored African Centres of Excellence (ACEs) are specialised research centres located in select universities in the country.