UNIJOS, Redeemer, others developing COVID-19 vaccines, herbs – NUC

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has acknowledged that various universities under the Nigerian University System (NUS) are engaged in ongoing activities that will ultimately lead to the development of vaccines to control COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said the African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), domiciled in Redeemer University, has been on the lead through various research and innovations and actively collaborating with the University of Cambridge in development of vaccines.

This is even as he said no fewer than six universities in the country were working on various local herbal remedies to the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

Prof Rasheed, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Suleiman Ramon Yusuf, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of a compendium which contains the ongoing efforts of the NUS to national response to COVID-19.

He said universities on the forefront in developing herbal remedies to COVID-19 included University of Jos (UNIJOS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) and Igbinedion University.

“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,” he said.

While noting that Redeemer University centre is the pioneer national testing and screening centre before ABU, BUK, University of Lagos and others joined, he 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, productions of medical face masks, among others.

“Nonetheless, the few who engaged in research and innovation work have demonstrated the need for a well-funded and robustly organized National Research and Innovation System to catalyse the national response,” he said.