The Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Prof. Chinedum Peace Babalola on Wednesday said Nigeria should aspire to discover curative drugs for coronavirus, Lassa fever, Ebola and other deadly diseases rather than focus on detection and diagnosis.
Professor Babalola said at a press conference held on the University Campus in Abeokuta that it would cost Nigeria $1bn or $2bn to develop drugs to cure each of Coronavirus, Lassa fever and Ebola.
She said, “We should go beyond detection, as a pharmaceutical scientist, when you study the genetics of a disease, when you study the properties of a particular disease or disease agent, we should use it and target medicines molecules that can also kill it or cure it”.
“So, we should go beyond diagnosis, we should empower centres to be able to discover, design and develop drugs”.
“We are doing a lot on viruses like Lassa fever, Ebola, among others. “
The Winner of the 2019 edition of the African Union(AU) Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence Regional Awards for Outstanding Achievements, urged the Federal Government to commit more resources into the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) to enable it tackle health emergencies.
The highly competitive Outstanding Achievements Awards in Science and Technology, was conferred on her at the 33rd Summit of AU held between February 10th and 11th, 2020 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
She stated that most drugs in use in Nigeria and Africa were manufactured with Caucasians as test cases during the preparation and trial processes, saying this informed why there exist cases of adverse reactions and low efficacy because Africans are genetically different from the Caucasians, adding that the government should create more centres and invest money in them.
“The government should bring stakeholders together in solving health issues. We have a lot of NGOs, institutes, among others, that focus on health issues, such centres shold be empowered.”
The Professor of pharmacy also advised the government to develop the health sector as she called for more women participation in Science.