As Nigeria battles outbreak of Monkeypox in some states coupled with the resurgence of the deadly COVID-19, researchers from the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) have disclosed their latest discovery of a new malaria vector in the northern part of the country.
Director General, NIMR, Professor Babatunde Salako hinted journalists on this discovery on Monday, on the occasion of his birthday, organised by his members of staff in felicitation with him.
Prof. Salako, who identified the new malaria vector as anopheles stephensi in northern Nigeria, described it as a very a rugged and rear vector, which had not been found anywhere near West Africa, and very difficult to eradicate.
He however stated that their researchers have commenced work on vaccines development to mitigate the spread of the vector. Acknowledging their collaboration with partners on vaccine development, he said they are working with five groups to arrive at successful outcomes of their research.
“We have done a lot of studies on vaccines and we are looking at vaccines development.
“We are working with five groups in a consortium to develop world local vaccines in Nigeria which was different from production,” he said.
Aside mitigating the spread of the new malaria vector, he noted that their vision on vaccines development is to prepare Nigeria against any new epidemic or diseases, as well as to equip researchers with knowledge on vaccine development which would enhance local production of vaccines in the country.
He said that the institute was looking at three COVID vaccines and 2,000 people in Nigeria would be tested to know whether the vaccines actually evoked a response among Nigerians.
“We are looking at three COVID vaccines and 2,000 people in Nigeria would be tested to know whether the vaccines actually evoked a response among Nigerians.
“If tomorrow, we had a new epidemic or disease, known or unknown, it would be possible for Nigeria to develop its own vaccine”, he asserted.
He further disclosed that institute was also looking at the effectiveness, side effects and responsiveness of human body to COVID-19 vaccines.
Appraising the personality of Prof. Salako on his achievements at the institution, a Senior Researcher, Samuel Amao, described him as a visionary leader and game changer, who delights in continuous and never ending progress of the institution and staff members.
“He is a goal-getter and effective team player, who practically leads by example and walks his staff through the pathway of success”, he said.