UniJos research centre develops anti-snake vaccine

The University of Jos Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD) has developed an indigenous anti-snake vaccine, known as “COVIP-Plus”.

Prof. Sabastian Maimako, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Jos.

According to him, the vaccine is currently passing through stages of clinical trials, adding that the development remains one of the greatest feats achieved by the centre.

He explained that the vaccine research is currently receiving government’s attention for its mass production.

The vice chancellor added that vaccine holds the potential to drastically reduce the use of anti-snake sera globally.

“From cutting-edge researches, the ACEPRD has been able to develop a host of impactful products.

“One of these researches is the COVIP-Plus vaccine it has developed. The vaccine is going through series of clinical trials which is the only strategy to transfer its benefit from the successful laboratory animal trials to humans.

“The phase one of the trial will help to replicate and confirm the result of the laboratory animals to humans, while the second and third trials will make the vaccine product available for use by humans.

“COVIP-Plus successful clinical trial have the potential to influence a paradigm shift in the management of snakebites in Nigeria and globally.

“The vaccine research is receiving government attention for its production because it also has the potential to reduce households poverty and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa,” he said.

Maimako further explained that international and local collaborators have shown interest, adding that they are as well contributing toward the successful vaccine research and production.

Speaking on the feat achieved, Dr Goni Dogo, Acting Director of the Centre, said it needed N400 million to conclude the clinical trial of the vaccine.

He said once concluded, it would begin its usage in two snake centres in the country; Kaltungo in Gombe state and Zamko in Plateau, adding that the vaccine can currently be used on animals.

Meanwhile, the vice chancellor also disclosed that the centre had developed a herbal COVID-19 tea aimed at combating the pandemic.

“The centre, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has researched into the coronavirus and have developed a set of herbal tea to combat the health menace.

“The COVID tea has been registered with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry.

“It has also been registered with National Agency for Food and Drug Adminstration and Control (NAFDAC), and awaiting certification and approval for its commercialisation,” he said. (NAN)

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