The Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has highlighted the opportunities and challenges preventing it from committing to manufacturing vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, in the country.
The General Director of the NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, gave the highlights at the first edition of the Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology (NiCAFE) 2021 on Tuesday in Abuja with the topic: Outbreaks “
The Nigerian news agency reports that the conference, organized by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, aimed to strengthen the country’s emergency preparedness in the event of an outbreak of infection.
The conference also provided an opportunity to discuss the epidemiology of infectious diseases in Nigeria and its impact on regional and global health security.
Speaking about Nigeria’s clinical trial preparation, vaccine research and development, Salako provided insights into clinical trials and vaccine development, requirements, monitoring and evaluation, safety and protocols.
“Research is very important to support case management decision making and public health response.
“We need to ensure effective collaboration to address research challenges such as: B. lack of trust in local researchers and scientists; Research funding, procurement road blockades, ”he said.
He highlighted the challenges including lack of trust in local scientists and researchers, poor funding, lack of synergies, procurement and regulatory barriers.
As for preparing the country for clinical trials, vaccine research and development, Salako called for a pragmatic solution that would include expedited ethics, regulatory review, generic contacts, and modified research enrollment procedures.
Joint outbreak stimulation exercise and clinical research preparation by the NCDC, researchers and other stakeholders.
State support, financially, politically, operationally. Cross-border collaboration and partnership with companies that develop vaccines, ”he said of the other actions required.
DG NIMR added that the country’s ability to conduct useful clinical research on disease outbreaks requires all hands to be on deck in the pre-planning, pre-positioning and practice of research responses.
“This opportunity must be seized because we have missed it several times. Now is the time to act, we have the ingredients, but we have to cook them.
“In order to improve our current state of preparation, a conscious capacity building in clinical studies as well as in vaccine research and development is necessary. We need strong partnerships around the world.
“There should be strong funding for vaccine research and innovation in the country,” he said.
Salako also called on the federal government to ensure the functionality and sustainability of the Nigeria Company Bio-Vaccines.
“More government investment is needed to capitalize on the potential clinical trials and vaccine development to provide assistance and protect the health and lives of Nigerians,” he added.
Earlier, NCDC Director General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu in his address that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned people’s lives upside down.
“It infected over 190 million people and unfortunately we lost 4.15 million people. In Nigeria we have had over 170,000 infections and over 2,000 deaths. It pains me to say that there is a chance we won’t see the worst of this pandemic just yet.
“But that’s one of the reasons we’re here today. We are facing not just one pandemic in Nigeria, but multiple disease outbreaks at the same time.
“In the last month alone, we have responded to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, cholera outbreaks in several states, and panic over the discovery of a monkey pox case in the US with a history of travel to Nigeria.
“We discover cases of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles and other infectious diseases endemic to Nigeria every week. This is our reality – our tropical climate, population density and poor socio-economic factors put us at risk of annual, multiple, simultaneous disease outbreaks in Nigeria, ”he said.
Ihekweazu emphasized that the country must be one step ahead of these pathogens.
“We also need to think about the other public health challenges that lie ahead. Our population is growing rapidly and this will have an incredible impact on our healthcare system.
“Antibiotic resistance is increasing globally and this will affect the prevention and management of infectious diseases. We also face increasing risks and the prevalence of NCDs.
“The last year in which we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn lessons from the leadership and governance for building our laboratory systems and risk communication. It also gave us a wake up call.
“Over the next few days we will hear from eight exceptional plenary speakers working on various aspects of global health and health system strengthening at the global, regional and country levels,” he added.
The conference, organized by the NCDC, is to take place in cooperation with partners from 26.
NAN reported that the NiCAFE conference brought together public health professionals, laboratory scientists, field epidemiologists, researchers, health professionals and the general public.