UNIJOS JOINS GLOBAL NETWORK TO ADDRESS EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES WITH $82M GRANT
University of Jos has emerged as one of the Institutions designated as Centres of Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID) to undertake multidisciplinary research on previously unknown viral diseases capable of infecting humans.
The global network was established by the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States with a grant of 82 Million Dollars to support a five-year research project aimed at increasing global preparedness for future outbreaks of diseases.
The network consists of ten (10) Centres of Excellence around the world with the University of Texas Medical Branch as the main project institution while the University of Jos is one of the project institutions under the West Africa Centre of Emerging Infectious Diseases (WAC-EID).
This came to light when Nigerian Project and Clinical Lead, WAC-EID, Dr Nathan Shehu led a Team of Researchers from the Centre to pay a courtesy visit to Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako in his office to brief him on the Project and seek mutual collaboration on the Project’s successful delivery.
Dr. Shehu explained that three (3) countries, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone are involved in the WAC-EID Project with the University of Jos A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, COCIN Health Services and Plateau State Specialist Hospital as the Research and Surveillance institutions. According to him, multidisciplinary investigations will be carried out by the participating institutions into how and where viruses and other disease-producing agents like bacteria and micro-organisms emerge from wildlife and infect humans. The Research will include surveillance studies to identify hitherto unknown causes of human illnesses where fever is a key symptom, discover animal sources of viral or other diseases and determine the genetic changes that make these diseases capable of infecting humans, among others.
The research activities will be carried out in Plateau, Bauchi, Yobe, Nasarawa and Benue States and the knowledge gained will be used to give early warnings of emerging diseases wherever they occur and increase global preparedness for future outbreaks similar to Coronavirus.
Receiving the Team, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako, described research as a vital mandate for any University interested in impacting society and delivering quality service to its benefiting communities.
Professor Maimako who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Tanko Ishaya, decried a situation where Academics shy away from applying for international Research grants but rely solely on internal sources to fund their work, adducing this as part of the reason many Nigerian Universities are not globally recognized. The Vice-Chancellor congratulated the WAC-EID Research Team for their tenacity and expressed confidence in their ability to successfully deliver the Project.
While assuring them of the Administration’s support in undertaking their work, Professor Maimako reminded them that the University will exercise its oversight function towards ensuring that the Project is properly implemented.
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