As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan (UI), has revealed that it is working assiduously to develop a drug that will defeat the virus, stating that researchers in Nigeria have what it takes to find a lasting cure for the raging pandemic.
While briefing Pharmanews in an interview, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, UI, Professor Oluwatoyin Odeku, said the faculty had been part of the on-going efforts to fight COVID-19 in the institution, noting that a proof of this was the production of hand sanitizers for the campus community.
Odeku stated that UI, which was recently rated number one university in Nigeria in the Times Higher Education ranking, has more than 10 research groups from its Faculty of Pharmacy working tirelessly to unravel the COVID-19 challenge, adding that the groups have been applying for funds to enable them succeed in their quest.
She said: “Nigeria is indeed blessed with herbs and plants that have potential benefit for viral infections, including COVID-19. There are over 10 research groups at the University of Ibadan looking at various plants and plants derivatives. I am also aware that quite a number of these groups have been applying for funding to enable them to execute the research.
“So, with the right support and funding, researchers in Nigeria have what it takes to make things happen. There is hope that researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy can come up with the drug to fight COVID-19. Drug discovery efforts are on-going and I believe that by the grace of God, we will be able to come up with an indigenous solution to fight COVID.”
The professor also reiterated calls by stakeholders in the health sector for the government to stop paying lip service to the research and development of drugs, stressing that only by providing the needed funds will the efforts be fruitful.
“Government should provide much needed funds for drug discovery and development research. Government should not expect researchers to fund groundbreaking researches with their salaries that cannot take care of their needs effectively.
“Drug discovery costs money – money for consumables and equipment. The government should be committed to education. For instance, ASUU has been on strike for over six months now because of the poor funding to education. There is need for more commitment from the government”, Professor Odeku said.
She also appealed to Nigerians to disregard the notion in some quarters that COVID-19 is not real, adding that everyone must endeavor to observe all stipulated protocols to stop the spread of the virus.