Two potential vaccines that could prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease currently ravaging the world has been developed by a group of scientists from different institutions in Nigeria coordinated by the Vice-Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Ibadan, Prof. Kola Oloke.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed on Monday by Oloke, the VC PCU and leaders of the team, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, a Microbiologist, who specialises in Medical Virology (Immunology and Bioinformatics) from Adeleke University, Ede.
Dr Ajayi Folorunsho, a Medical Physiologist with specialization in Pathophysiology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, also signed the statement.
The statement said that they were spurred into action by the need to rise to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to them, the research work has reached an advanced stage of the animal trial experiment, which would help to establish the veracity and efficacy of the vaccines for the prevention of the dreaded disease.
“We have worked extensively by exploring the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates.
“After trying out some selected processes of vaccine development, we have been able to choose the best potential vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV -2 and they have made the possible latent vaccine constructs,” the scientists revealed.
The team pointed out that the research was a collaborative effort of a number of scientists from different institutions/disciplines.
“It was however carried out at the Genomics Research Hub of Helix Biogen Consult in Ogbomoso and jointly funded by Trinity Immunoefficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult owned by Dr Kolawole Oladipo,” the statement read.
It stated that consequently, they have urged other researchers in Africa to rise up to the challenge offered by the period by coming up with more solutions.
It stressed that “The understanding of genetic diversity/variability of the SARS-CoV-2 in Africa, is a very urgent assignment.
“There is a need for African scientists to wake up and provide more solutions to the pandemic specific for Africans.
“Therefore, this study was initiated to make significant scientific contributions to the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines”.
It further said as the team prepared for the animal trial experiment of the vaccine billed to commence any moment from now, the researchers expressed joy for the feat achieved.
“The findings from this research have shown the importance of multidisciplinary research efforts in healthcare. We are at the verge of something truly transformational in Nigeria and Africa and by extension, the world at large”
“We are calling for financial assistance from the government and relevant stakeholders, so as to see the efforts through.
“In summary, the team has been able to construct two potential vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 , which should work in a much pretty way to protect the general populace against the novel COVID-19 , if it becomes successful in the animal trial experiments.
“The animal experiment will help us to validate the constructed vaccine, evaluate its effectiveness and safety.
“Therefore, we hereby call for support in various ways from non-governmental and governmental institutions to assist in the next steps of these novel vaccines development,” it stated.
Meanwhile, other key members of the team include Dr Onile Olugbenga, who specialises in Molecular Epidemiology and Immunology from Elizade University, Ondo State, Dr Ariyo Olumuyiwa Elijah, who specialises in Infectious and Tropical Diseases from Federal Medical Centre, Ido, Ekiti State.
Dr Folusho Ajayi, who specialises in Microbial and Molecular Biotechnology from the Massasoit Community College, Brockton, U.S., is also part of the research team as well as others not mentioned.