The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Thursday said the institutionalisation of research and development was vital in helping the country deploy home made solution to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Suleman Bogoro, Executive Secretary of Tetfund, stated this during the implementation strategy meeting on COVID-19 vaccine development held at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that the initiative, funded by the Federal Government through TETfund, is engaging both health and educational institutions to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine development in Nigeria.
The institutions involved are Usman DanFodiyo University in Sokoto, National Veterinary Research Institute in Plateau and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos.
Others are National Research Institute for Chemical Technology in Zaria and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Jos.
Bogoro said: ”For us as a country, we cannot continue to play around anything that we see as a pandemic”.
“We need to find a way of tackling the problem and also be at the forefront of finding a lasting solution for our country and indeed Africa.”
“So, what can help this country is the institutionalisation of research and development by making sure that we deploy the instrumentality of research and development to look for home made solution.”
“We are looking at a national platform that can support all the immediate production of COVID-19 vaccine and sensitise Nigerians on massive vaccination.”
Bogoro, represented by Dr Ayo Popoola, his Technical Assistant on Research and Development Matters, added that all the necessary support would be given to the various institutions to fastrack their work.
Speaking earlier, Prof. Olaoluwa Akinwale, Deputy Director-General of NIMR, thanked Tetfund for engaging the various institutions to enhance the development and production of vaccine in the country.
“As members of this great initiative, we should focus on a common goal for establishing this platform and see how we can all work together to make it a success.”
“Vaccine development and production have kick-started and there is no going back and we cannot continue to depend on the Western world,” she said.
Our correspondent reports that the five institutions presented their proposals and activities during the meeting.