The Director-General of Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), Prof Alex Akpa, says there is a renewed commitment by the present administration and corporate organisations on building capacity for local production of vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and test kits.
Akpa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday in Abuja.
According to the director-general, the renewed effort on capacity building was fuelled by the experiences and lessons the country learnt from SARS, EBOLA and recently COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof Akpa said recent conditions that compel Nigeria to start from scratch each time to look for test kits and vaccines during the outbreak of deadly diseases, should be a thing of the past. The professor disclosed that as a result of this, the Central bank of Nigeria recently set up a special committee made up of experts from the whole country with the responsibility of not only supporting research but also development in the health sector.
In Akpa’s words, “We are to grant support for proposals not only from individual researchers but also researchers in universities and also in industry.
“All these are aimed at building local capacity, not only for research but for production of diagnostic kits, biopharmaceuticals and also vaccines,’’
He also said the universities as research organisations would also be encouraged to submit proposals for research in different aspects of these key areas.
“All these show the increased interest of the government and everyone in the whole country on the need to domesticate these technologies.
“NABDA had been on the forefront of efforts to produce not only diagnostic kits but other biopharmaceuticals,’’ Akpa said.
He noted that in the area of local vaccine production, his agency had gone far in terms of expanding its partnerships by entering into discussions with groups in Europe and the U.S.
“We are quite optimistic that in no distant future, we are going to be able to start the local production of vaccines in Nigeria and here in NABDA,’’ he said.