Nigeria, Cuba partner to produce vaccines against typhoid fever, other killer diseases

Posted by News Express | 12 March 2016 | 3,047 times

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Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), says the agency will partner with Cuba in producing vaccines against killer diseases.

Ogbadu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, in Abuja.

The director-general expressed regret over Nigeria’s failure to produce vaccines against typhoid and other killer diseases.

“We want to go into that because some decades ago Nigeria was producing vaccine, but we have so many things in Nigeria that have collapsed.

“So not a single human vaccine is produced right now in Nigeria; we may be producing animal vaccines but not human vaccines and we feel this cannot continue.

“So because this falls within our mandate, we have taken it upon ourselves to ensure that Nigeria goes back to vaccine production.

“And we thought of no better country to approach than Cuba, because eight out of the 11 vaccines that are involved in the national immunisation programmes in Cuba are produced in Cuba.

“And we know Cuba being a third world country will flow more easily with us than any other country in the sense that our situations are similar.

“So, we approached them and we entered into an agreement with them, they are willing to assist us by transferring technology on vaccine production to us.

“So, we are following closely on that to ensure that we acquire the recent technologies that are available in vaccine production.

“Some of our scientists have done some work in vaccine production but their methods are outdated.”

Ogbadu said technology transfer from Cuba had become necessary, adding that the agency would attempt to produce vaccines even for export.

The director-general stressed the need for the agency to adhere to best global practices in producing vaccines, adding that Cuba now remained the best country to learn from.

“We cannot bite more than we can chew.

“So because of that, we want to start with a vaccine that will be generally acceptable to our experts when the workshop is held.

“But we are thinking of typhoid fever vaccine.

“The good thing about vaccine production is that the same plant can be fitted with different components to go into to several vaccine productions.

“So once the plant is established, the same plant will be fitted with various components to accommodate different vaccines that will be of interest to us.

“Apart from that, Cuba also has a technology of polivalent vaccine production which means that a couple of vaccine can be combined into one.

“Thereby sparing the child that is receiving the vaccine, the agony of taking several jabs, so that when you give one jab, that one jab can deliver a couple of vaccines at the same time; that is polyvalent vaccine development.

“So we have agreement with them to ensure that this vaccine is also transferred to us.”

She said Nigerian scientists were exploring the possibility of producing vaccines that would be ‘thermo-durable,’ or ‘thermo-resistant’ because of the country’s perennial power outage.

Ogbadu expressed the hope that regular power supply would soon be restored because regular supply of power was critical to storage of vaccines.

According to her, scientists at the agency are contemplating to come up with the thermo-resistant vaccines that will withstand normal temperatures. (NAN)

•Photo shows Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole.

Source: News Express

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