By Babajide Okeowo
Medical experts in Nigeria have strongly disagreed with the reluctance of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC decision not to conduct a clinical trial on the N400bn COVID 19 vaccines ordered by the Federal Government.
The medical experts which included virologists and infectious disease experts have disagreed with NAFDAC, insisting that there is a need to conduct a clinical trial on the vaccines in the country before administering them to Nigerians.
Leading the call for a mini clinical trial was a medical virologist at the Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Dr. Elijah Kolawole, who posited that it would be safer to conduct a mini clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the vaccine before rushing to administer it on a population of over 206 million.
“This is because there is no evidence to show the earlier trial conducted in Europe had African volunteers. There is something we need to understand. In terms of human genetics, African-Americans are different and cannot be used to represent Africans in a trial.
They could be similar but they cannot be regarded as a proper representation of Africans. That’s why you see a lot of differences in the way we respond to treatments based on our genetic make-up” he said.
Towing the same line is a medical microbiologist at the Lagos State University, Prof Bola Oyefolu who added that there was the need to conduct a clinical trial before administering the vaccines on Nigerians.
“Before any vaccine is given, there is a standard procedure for it. Before you can inject people with any vaccine, it must have gone through serious clinical trials, and when you look at the duration for that, it will take an average of three years.
The clinical trial will prevent mortality; there is the need for more time to do a more open clinical trial to be sure that what we are giving to the people is safe” he added
Recall that NAFDAC has posited that since the World Health Organisation, WHO had approved the vaccines there might not be a need to conduct another clinical trial on the vaccines.
“Once the vaccine arrives, a sample will be taken to the lab for a test. Once its safety and efficacy are certified by NAFDAC, it will be administered to Nigerians. We don’t expect anything to be different though.
The truth is that once a vaccine is approved by the WHO, it is assumed that it has passed through some preliminary stage of the trial. It is a known fact that for the WHO to sanction a vaccine, it must have gone through a series of trial here and there,” NAFDAC’s Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola disclosed
Although he said NAFDAC’s evaluation of the vaccine would not be rigorous mainly because it’s not a new vaccine, Akintola noted that its efficacy and safety needed to be ratified.