In what has appeared to bring an end to numerous speculations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially announced that the Covid-19 vaccine trials will begin in Africa. As part of the announcement, the health organization said countries in the African continent, like Nigeria, expressed interest to be part of the vaccine trials.
The organization also claims 89 vaccines are currently being developed around the world, including seven in clinical evaluation and several in therapeutic clinical trials, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Confirming the news that Covid-19 vaccine testing will begin in Nigeria, the Officer-in-Charge of WHO Nigeria, Fiona Braka said efforts are underway to start the process in the country. She made this known during a joint briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 – headed by the country’s vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Defending the decision to indicate interest in the vaccine trials, Braka indicated that more than 100 countries have joined the solidarity clinical trial, which was launched by WHO and some partners, to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19.
“Nigeria has also expressed interest to be part of this solidarity trial and efforts are underway to start the process in Nigeria too.
“Together with global health actors and partners, over the past week, WHO launched the access to COVID-19 tools ACT accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development for equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
“We have a total of 89 vaccines that are in development globally, including seven in clinical evaluation and several therapeutics are in clinical trials. WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.
“We do have the solidarity trial which is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, launched by the WHO and partners.
“More than 100 countries have joined the solidarity trial and to date, over 1,200 patients have been randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the full drug and drug combinations”; she said.
The announcement has attracted huge criticisms; with many observers claiming that the health organization had already employed back door channels in testing the vaccines on Nigerians before the announcements were made. They argue that despite the disagreement by Africans from different parts of the continents to accept the decision by health organizations to carry out vaccine tests in Africa, testing was unofficially carried out.
Fiona Braka furthered added that the decision to indicate interest in the testing was as a result of expert consultations from professionals from the WHO and Nigeria. She assured Nigerians and Africans in general that the vaccines had gone through various stages of testing and as such, would not pose any threats to the patients.