By Staff Writer,
The Nigerian Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with the United States Department of Defence Military Medicine and Research has commenced research into vaccine against the dreaded Ebola Virus.
Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Lt.Gen. Aliyu Gusau said at the commencement of the study sensitisation that the magnitude of devastation brought by the outbreak of the virus in 2014 necessitated the research.
According to him, the Ebola disease posed major health threat to African countries and the world at large, stressing that the world must work towards preventing future outbreak of the disease.
He said, “We must prepare to prevent the occurrence of future outbreaks and protect our citizens from such occurrences. I wish to state unequivocally that the current effort to commence vaccine trial against Ebola is a welcome development.
“From all indications, a lot of work has gone into the development of this vaccine. I am told that this particular study is to build on the findings of the phase one trials of the vaccine and that it will be harmless to those who will be involved in the study.
“I have also been informed of the plans to mobilise participants and that all arrangements are in place to ensure their safety.”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan described the Ebola virus as a unique one, owing to its high infectivity and fatality rate.
He said: “The largest outbreak which occurred in parts of West Africa in 2014 sent panic waves across the sub region and the entire world. The death toll, as well as the social and economic impact, have been devastating.
“Many health workers have paid the supreme price and the world has had to rally together to mitigate what threatened to be a global medical disaster”.
Also speaking at the event, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle enumerated a string of partnership between Nigeria and the US in areas of public health.
According to him, “In August 2014, under the direction of the World Health Organisation, pharmaceutical companies were asked to test, license and make available safe and effective interventions for the Ebola epidemic.
“As part of an international network, through the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research’s Military HIV Research Programme, the US-Nigeria partnership is working with pharmaceutical companies to prepare to test a vaccine candidate in Abuja.
“The partnership is working closely with many regulatory bodies, ethnic groups, federal entities, and community boards in Nigeria to ensure that any such studies will be safe and contribute to the international effort to combat this health threat.
“While much work remains in the future, the joint effort of the American and Nigerian governments will no doubt lead to great success towards fighting the global epidemics that have affected Nigeria, West Africa and other parts of the world”.
According to him, the partnership between the two countries also encompasses areas like HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and establishment of improved laboratory capacity.