The University of Lagos says a total of 19 of its research outputs, including an AmbuVent, have been patented in the past three years, with the Lagos State Government approving them for clinical trials.
It was reported that the AmbuVent, was put together in 2020, by a team of researchers of the university, in collaboration with the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council, to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Director, Research and Innovation Office of the institution, Prof. Bola Oboh, spoke on the strides on Tuesday in Lagos.
She spoke at the 15th annual (1st Virtual) UNILAG Research Conference and International Conference of the Humanities and the Sciences, with the theme ‘Saving the Earth’.
According to her, of these 19 patents, there are five prototypes, all from the research of staff and students of the institution.
”Conference is something we do annually, where researchers are able to present results of what they have done within the period, in terms of research work, and also showcase their innovation, things they have designed, and how they fared.
”It is not only for researchers within the university, but also, researchers from sister universities and Polytechnic nationwide, who usually attend the fair.
”For us in this university, we have in the past three to four years been able, through research, to have 19 patents. And out of these 19 patents, we have five prototypes, all from research of our staff and students.
”One of these is the one mentioned by the Vice Chancellor, the AmbuVent, which was actually done during the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.
”This project was supported by the Lagos State Science Research Council, being our partner on that. The prototype has been developed and they are now in the state of clinical trials,” she stated.
Oboh said that the Lagos State Government, as well as the Medical Council, had already approved the clinical trials of the research output.
She said that the state government was bankrolling all the costs of the clinical trials of AmbuVent especially.
”One of our other key achievements in research, especially during the peak of the pandemic, is that the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, also came up with home-made hand sanitisers.
”Why I said home-made is because herbal products, essential oil, from our own indigenous plants, were incorporated into the sanitiser, and it is being marketed all over the campus.
”In some of the other years, we have been able to come up with patent which involve modern fishing nets, which was done with all the artisanal fishermen around. A new design of fishing net was designed.
”We also have what we call the smart bin, which also has something like a censor which can contact the waste disposal agency, telling them that the waste bin is almost filled, in the next two hours, make your way to pick it up.
”We have that design, we have the prototype of that. We also have a flood caution device, which, based on the feedback displayed at various fairs both in Unilag and in Abuja, we are trying now to connect it to our telemetry,” the don stated.
According to her, this will be achieved in such a way that when it is out on sight, something will be relaying to radio stations or telephone databases, that there is flood in a particular area, as well as, state the depth of such flood.
She said that the device would also relay when it goes down.
The don said that the university had also been able to design incubator for the rural and under-served areas in terms of electricity, a solar incubator, and was optimistic that this would also be able to go into clinical trials soon.
According to the director, another research breakthrough of the university is a butterfly project sponsored by the institution and Lagos State.
”We know that these butterflies are indicators of real environmental stress, so we are trying to see how we can really bring them back.
”This is because we believe that if we can have butterflies back within our ecosystem, it will improve the food chain, as well as attract other organisms, plants and animals to the system, and therefore, we will be able to also help in terms of pollution.
”There are quite a number of people also carrying out research in the area of climate change in the institution.
”We have those working on land use and others, drought resistant crops, to ensure that we will be able to have crops with just minimal rainfall to be able to give us a very high yield, among other research efforts,” she stated.
Oboh said that with more of the institution’s research efforts ongoing, the university would, in the next two years, be among the top five in Africa in the research space.
”Now we are in the average, top in Nigeria, according to Tetfund, when it comes to accessing research grants and delivering on results.
”We are hoping that in the next two years, we will be among the top five in Africa in terms of research,” she said.
Meanwhile, Oboh told our reporter that some 100 institutions participated at the fair online, while a total of 150 posters were received with about 20 oral presentations.
”So you can see that even despite the challenges of COVID-19 that we are still battling to overcome, people still subscribe to the conference, because this is the 15th since they started and it was only last year’s disruption because of the pandemic, that we did not hold it,” she said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, described the theme of the conference as apt, looking at the experiences in the past two years.
According to him, this is the best time for scientists, social scientists, politicians, financial people, to look at the possibility of saving the earth.
”It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the determination to find a way to create one and the creativity to get lemonade out of lemon.
”The earth was created for us and God said we should take dominion, but at the same time, we must work in such a way that we will continue to benefit from the earth, having the spirit of sustainability, to be able to get the best.
”The choice of the theme of this conference is therefore an apt one,” the Professor of Botany said.
Dr Nike Akande, keynote speaker at the event, emphasised the need to preserve the earth for the purpose of sustainability.
Akande, a one time President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed concern over the rising cases of pollution, especially in the urban areas.
She said that water bodies face huge pollution as a result of indiscriminate dumping of industrial waste.
Akande noted that the practice made it highly unsafe for human consumption, adding that in Africa, a large percentage of persons die yearly as a result of contaminated water.
She also called for a drastic reduction in emission, as about 50 per cent of species may lose most of their suitable climate condition.
The former LCCI president noted that it was imperative that rigorous efforts be made to discourage activities that cause damage to the earth.
She said there was also the need to strive to preserve both animals and plants.