Nigerian researchers engaged in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund-sponsored Vaccine Development Mega Research Project at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, have handed over the Covid-19 DNA vaccine candidate for preclinical trials in Nigeria.

The academics, in a symbolic handover of the vaccine candidate in Sokoto state, said despite the numerous challenges faced during the procurement of some of the consumables, equipment and reagents from abroad, within 11 months of the receipt of the first tranche of TETFund grant, the vaccine was ready.

Speaking at the presentation, Vice Chancellor of Usman Danfodio University, Prof. Lawal Suleman Bilbis, said the handing over of a vaccine candidate for trials goes a long way to showcase the ability of indigenous scientists to solve the nation’s problems using home-grown resources and facilities.

According to Bilbis, “this 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.”

He assured that the nation is very close to reaping the benefits of the investment, he further added that the researchers will converge in the next few months to celebrate the successful completion of the project.

“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.”

He added that the TETFUND Covid-19 Special Intervention Research Grant has supported the study on t innovative approach to rapidly identify potential therapeutics for COVID-19.

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