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Nigerian varsity submits COVID-19 vaccine for pre-clinical trial

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USMAN Danfodio University, Sokoto, (UDUS) researchers have submitted a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for preclinical trials in Nigeria.

Other institutions are the University of Jos (UNIJOS), National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Nigeria Medical Research Institute (NMRI), and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria.

Vice Chancellor of UDUS, Mr. Lawal Bilbis, presented the vaccine candidate to Executive Secretary of TETFund, Mr. Sonny Echono, yesterday.

Bilbis said that the vaccine candidate was produced within 11 months of the receipt of the first tranche of the TETFund gran, explaining the feat as demonstration of ability of indigenous scientists to solve problems using home-grown resources.

“The milestone portrays our expertise in the application of state-of-the-art technologies to rapidly develop vaccine candidates against any emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases in Nigeria.Let me at this juncture inform the executive secretary that through the support of TETFund, researchers in this university have been able to work on many other high-impact projects that are already yielding promising results.As I speak, we have successfully designed and constructed a recombinant DNA vaccine targeting all the lineages of Lassa virus circulating in Nigeria, using a TETFund national research fund (NRF) grant. Additionally, TETFund COVID-19 special intervention research grant has supported our study on the innovative approach to rapidly identify potential therapeutics for COVID-19.The study identified seven orthodox medicines for repurposing and two herbal medicines with significant inhibitory activities against the virus that causes COVID-19.Indeed, there are many more TETFund-supported projects, too numerous to mention, which are helping our researchers to showcase their talents and skills, while at the same time, assisting to solve the nation’s problems. We remain extremely grateful to TETFund for its support,” Bilbissaid.

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It will be recalled that UDUS is among the institutions that were engaged by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) under its vaccine development mega-research project to produce COVID vaccines within 18 months with the institution tasking with designing a DNA vaccine candidate.

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