By Zayamu Hassan
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) said that with the right partnerships, Nigeria can lead in the production of vaccines in Africa.
Director-General of the institute, Dr Obi Adigwe stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, in preparation for a national colloquium being organised by NIPRD in partnership with a law firm, ÁELEX.
Senator Mamora and the 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.”
Dr Adigwe, said the COVID-19 pandemic presented what he described as “unique opportunities for the growth” of pharmaceutical products, intellectual property rights and education worldwide.
He disclosed 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.
According to him, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NIPRD pioneered and strongly advocated for indigenous manufacturing of hand sanitisers from locally sourced raw materials.
On his part, Senator Adeleke Mamora, applauded the NIPRD Director-General for the good work the Institute has been doing in recent times, especially, in the fight against COVID-19.
He, however, said that his ministry and its agencies have done extremely well in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He particularly commended 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.
Also, 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 reengineer the institute towards meeting the great expectations of providing solutions in the Pharma industry.
Dr Onu, however, charged Nigerian scientists to emulate their counterparts in China and Singapore whom, he said, 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.