Unijos Commences Indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine Trial







Vice-Chancellor, University of Jos, Professor Tanko Ishaya has again stressed that Nigerian Universities and Research-based institutions have the capacity and expertise to address most of the challenges bedeviling the country if they are given the necessary support. Professor Tanko insists that only indigenous solutions can be applied to properly tackle Nigeria’s socio-political, economic and health problems which the country’s indigenous Researchers are suitably equipped to handle provided they are given the required funding. The Vice-Chancellor believes recruiting foreign expertise and importing foreign solutions to resolve our challenges can only be counterproductive in the long run.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking while receiving the DNA-based indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate code named SJN3T CorVac (Sokoto, Jos, NARICT, NIMR, NVRI and TetFund) being developed by a Consortium of Nigerian Universities and Inter-University Centres which will undergo Pre-Clinical Trials in the University of Jos.

Professor Tanko explained that the mandate of the University in the Research Consortium’s collaborative and inter-disciplinary Project towards developing an indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine is to utilize modern technologies to conduct Pre-Clinical Trials of the Vaccine Candidate and develop a Strategic Communications Tool for measuring the acceptability and uptake of the Vaccine Candidate among Nigerians. He disclosed that towards achieving this, the UNIJOS Team has developed a set of protocols being used during the Pre-Clinical Trials while the University’s Experimental Animal Facility and Laboratories have been remodeled and the requisite equipment procured and installed.

Similarly, the Vice-Chancellor said the University Team in conjunction with the Institute of Medical Research and other partners have developed a Research Tool that will measure the attitude and perception of Nigerians on their acceptability and uptake towards an indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine. According to him, the Team of Researchers will be able to deliver excellent outcomes in record time by generating accurate and reliable Preliminary Data on the Vaccine Candidate’s efficacy and effectiveness as well as create awareness and confidence among Nigerians on the Vaccine’s safety and value while also building capacity on modern techniques in Vaccine development.

He commended the Tertiary Education Fund (TETfund) for funding the Project and solicited for greater funding to enable the Research Consortium surmount some of the challenges being envisaged in conducting their Study.  

Also speaking, TETfund Executive Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono announced that the Agency intends to fund the establishment of Multidimensional Research Laboratories across the country as part of the Federal Government’s strategic investment towards upscaling Research activities in Nigeria. Arc. Echono stressed that Nigeria has the right calibre of Scholars and Researchers that could achieve impactful and internationally acclaimed Research breakthroughs that would put the country on the global map when provided with the right atmosphere and facilities to work.

The TETfund Boss noted that the TETfund Centres of Excellence were established in various Nigerian Universities and Research institutions to address specific areas of national need and endeavour and assured that more attention would be focused on these Centres to ensure that they perform to their optimum capacity and potential towards addressing issues affecting the citizenry.

Highpoint of the occasion, which took place at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto (UDUS), was the unveiling of the DNA-Based COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate by the Vice-Chancellor, UDUS, Professor Lawal Suleiman Bilbis who presented it to the TETfund Executive Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono who in turn presented it to the Vice-Chancellor, University of Jos, Professor Tanko Ishaya forCross Section of Dignitaries commencement of the Pre-Clinical Trials.

Members of the UNIJOS Team include the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tanko Ishaya, Principal Investigator of the UniJos Vaccine Development Research Cluster, Professor Lami Lombin, Technical Team Lead, Professor (Mrs.) Asabe Adamu Dzikwi-Emennaa, Technical Member/Secretary, Dr. Asinamai Bitrus and Technical Members, Dr. Polycarp Tanko, and Dr. Idris Azeez. 



Abdullahi Abdullahi

Deputy Registrar, Information and Publications